Iran warned Tuesday of possible "disintegration or civil war" in Yemen, criticising President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi for leaving the capital Sanaa and basing himself in the southern city of Aden.
Iran warned Tuesday of possible “disintegration or civil war” in Yemen, criticising President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi for leaving the capital Sanaa and basing himself in the southern city of Aden.
The comments, by deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, came after Gulf monarchies agreed to Hadi’s request to host talks in Riyadh aimed at pulling Yemen out of political crisis.
Abdollahian told the ISNA news agency: “Sanaa is the official and historical capital of Yemen and those in Aden who back disintegration or civil war are responsible for the consequences.
“Yemen’s outgoing president would have done better to stay in Sanaa and keep to his resignation letter and not lead the country into crisis.”
Iran, a Shiite regional power, is accused of having contributed to the seizure of power in Sanaa by Huthi Shiite militia, but Tehran has rejected accusations of interference.
Tehran “supports the unity, independence and a wide national dialogue in Yemen,” Abdollahian said.
Hadi tendered his resignation to parliament in January but parliament never convened and he withdrew it after escaping to Aden last month, saying he quit under duress from the Huthis.
Shiite Muslims represent about a third of the Yemeni population.
Hadi asked the Gulf countries to host talks after failing to reach agreement with the militia and their backers on a venue inside Yemen.
The six Sunni-ruled Gulf states are deeply suspicious of the Huthis, fearing they will take Yemen into Shiite Iran’s orbit.
UN-brokered reconciliation talks, which had been taking place in Sanaa, broke down after Hadi’s flight to Aden.
Yemen, on the frontline in the US war against Al-Qaeda, has been gripped by unrest since longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in early 2012 after a bloody year-long uprising.
Several Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, have moved their embassies to Aden after an exodus of foreign diplomats from Sanaa in February over security concerns.