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Iranian Revolutionary Guard escalating activities in Yemen – Diplomatic source - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – A Yemeni diplomatic source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, has revealed that Iran is continuing its espionage activities in Yemen under medical and trade guises. He added that Tehran is playing an “abhorrent sectarian card”, warning that Yemen is not alone and isolated from its Arab brothers. For its part, the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] announced its support for Yemen’s position in confronting espionage networks and Iranian intervention in its domestic affairs.

This comes after Yemen’s Defense Minister last week announced that authorities had dismantled an “Iranian spy network that had been operating in Yemen for seven years under the leadership of a former leader in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.”

The Yemeni diplomatic source stressed that “the Iranian activities began early in Yemen and was tolerated from the beginning; we should have been decisive on this issue and not ignored it. As for the situation reaching this level, I believe that this requires a strong and decisive stance with regards to this intervention, which is based on playing the abhorrent sectarian card.”

The source stressed “Iranian espionage centers have proliferated across Yemen under various guises, most prominently the Iranian Medical Center in the capital Sanaa, which was not established to provide medical treatment facilities to the Yemen people, or to obtain profits in the field of medical investment, but rather for the purposes of espionage.”

He added “Iran is exploiting investment, trade and scientific guises for the purposes of espionage in Yemen, which shares a border with Saudi Arabia and overlooks the Red Sea, and this is very important for Iran.”

The Yemeni diplomatic source called on Tehran to review its policies towards Yemen, stressing “we hope that Iran is aware and appreciates the risks of what it is doing, they must know that Yemen is not alone, but is surrounded by its [Arab] brothers.”

He added “Iran is provoking its regional neighbors with regards to its commitment to its nuclear program, and its insistence on exporting the revolution, as well as its negative interferences in the affairs of regional states, including Yemen.”

The Yemeni source called on Iran to play a positive role in the era that Yemen is passing through in order to build trust. He stressed that “we call on Iran to play a positive role in Yemen, and in the region as a whole, in order to build trust.” He also confirmed that “Yemen was one of the first countries to recognize and welcome the Iranian revolution; however Iran has carried out unacceptable activities since the first day of the revolution.”

A Yemeni official previously informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “Tehran is providing financial and logistical support to the secessionist movement, whilst it is also working to train some armed movements in southern Yemen, in addition to establishing a network of relations with Yemeni parliamentarians, political activists, journalists and writers. Iran is also funding media operations and political parties with the objective of thwarting the transition of power in Yemen.”

He added “for our part, we will move forward with the trial against the espionage ring that was seized, and we have lodged a protest with Tehran – via diplomatic channels –against its support of activities that aim to undermine Yemeni security and stability, and if this unfriendly policy does not stop, then we will take a public position, and call on brotherly and friendly [Arab] states to support Yemen to prevent Iranian interference in our affairs.”

In the same regard, GCC states confirmed their support for Yemen on Monday after Sanaa announced that it had uncovered an Iranian espionage ring operating in the country. GCC Secretary-General Abdulatif al-Zayani praised Sanaa for dismantling the alleged spy ring and stressed that the GCC “fully backs Yemen in all the measures it undertakes to reinforce stability and security.”

Al-Zayani said “Yemen’s efforts to restore stability and security and reset the wheel of development call for the continuation of the international community’s support for Yemen until it overcomes this difficult stage in its history.”

Last week, Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi bluntly warned Iran to “leave Yemen to mind its own affairs”. He threatened to make details of allegations linking Iran to the dismantled spy ring public, saying “we will embarrass them in front of the world.”

The Yemeni president added “I will take the necessary steps, and a heavy price will be paid if you [Iran] continue with this manner.”

Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi also called on Iran to “take into consideration the delicate circumstances the country is passing through” adding “we say from here, leave Yemen to mind its own affairs, and that is enough for now.”

The 26 September news website, which is affiliated to the Yemeni Ministry of Defense, quoted “a credible source” who revealed that an “Iranian espionage network, secretly working in the country for the last seven years, has been uncovered.”

The source added that “the [espionage] network has been administrated by a former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and had carried out espionage activities in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.”

Relations between Yemen and Iran are fraught, with Yemeni authorities accusing Tehran of supporting Shiite Zaidi rebels in the country, who are seeking secession from Sanaa and the establishment of a Shiite state.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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