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Iran delivers protest after diplomat assassinated in Yemen - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yemeni security forces stand guard in front of the Iranian ambassador's residence in Sanaa, on January 18, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS)

Yemeni security forces stand guard in front of the Iranian ambassador’s residence in Sanaa, on January 18, 2014. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Huwais)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iran summoned Yemen’s Chargé d’affaires to the foreign ministry to receive an official protest on Saturday, following the killing of one of its diplomats in the Yemeni capital Sana’a.

The Iranian ISNA news agency said the Chargé d’affaires was “officially notified of Iran’s protest and discontent over lack of appropriate security measures to protect the Iranian diplomatic delegation in Yemen’s territory.”

This follows the killing on Saturday afternoon of Abulqasem Asadi, an attaché in the economics department of the Iranian embassy, in what is believed to have been an attempted kidnapping.

According to ISNA, gunmen shot Asadi three times after he resisted an attempt to snatch him from a car as he left the Iranian ambassador’s residence in the Yemeni capital.

The wounded diplomat was rushed to hospital, but was pronounced dead that evening.

Saturday’s attack marks the second attempt to kidnap an Iranian diplomat in Sana’a. In July 2013, Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, an Iranian embassy employee, was kidnapped and is still missing.

Soon after confirmation of the diplomat’s death, Yemeni Foreign Minister Dr. Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi called his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to express his country’s regret over the incident, and declared the Yemeni government’s willingness to fully cooperate with an Iranian investigation team to find the perpetrators, according to the ISNA news agency.

Iran’s foreign ministry issued a statement strongly condemning the attack, urged Yemeni officials to properly investigate the killing and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, Iranian foreign ministry sources told Asharq Al-Awsat Tehran believes that if the Yemeni authorities had responded more forcefully to the July kidnapping, Saturday’s attack—which occurred in broad daylight in the middle of the capital—might not have taken place.