Last updated: 6 September, 2014

Yemeni president urges Iran to be “reasonable”

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi urged Iran on Saturday to be “reasonable” in dealing with Yemen, where it is accused of supporting Shiite Huthi rebels.

“Iran should be reasonable and logical in dealing with the Yemeni people,” Hadi said in remarks published by Saba state news agency.

He called on Tehran to “deal with the Yemeni people as one entity, and not to deal with groups or sects.”

Shiite-dominated Iran has been repeatedly accused of backing Shiite rebels who have fought the central government for over a decade and have been camping for weeks inside and outside Sanaa demanding the removal of the current government.

Despite an overture by Hadi pledging to name a new premier and the reduction of a fuel prices hike, the Huthi rebels have vowed to intensify protests on Sunday and Monday.

Huthi rebels have also been fighting fierce battles with government troops and loyalist tribes north of the capital, beyond their traditional stronghold of Saada.

Analysts say the rebels are trying to establish themselves as the dominant political force in the northern highlands, where Shiites are the majority community.

Yemen has been locked in a protracted transition since long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced from power in February 2012 after a deadly 11-month uprising.