ADEN (Web Desk) – The Saudi-backed Yemeni government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has decided to sever diplomatic relations with Iran, state-owned Aden television reported on Friday without elaborating.
Yemen’s Prime Minister Khaled Bahah arrived in the southern port city of Aden on September 16, after months of exile in Saudi Arabia.
The move appeared to be a step toward the establishment of a government in Aden to rival the one in the capital, Sanaa, which is controlled by Houthi rebels. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi remains in exile in Riyadh, having fled Aden in March.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the war in March to try to restore Yemen’s government after it was forced into exile by the Houthis, aiming to contain what Gulf states see as Iran’s growing influence in their backyard.
A total of 2,355 civilians have been killed in Yemen’s conflict since late March, and another 4,862 injured, according to UN.
Bahrain also recalled its ambassador from Iran on Thursday and ordered Tehran’s envoy to leave within 72 hours, accusing the country of meddling in its affairs.
A foreign ministry statement, quoted by the official BNA news agency, said the action was taken in response to “continuing interference by Iran in the affairs of the kingdom” and an attempt by Tehran to foment “confessional sedition”.
Bahrain, which has a majority Shia Muslim population ruled by a Sunni dynasty, has suffered from unrest since a pro-democracy uprising in 2011.
The kingdom frequently accuses Iran of meddling in its affairs.
Iran supports acts of “sabotage and terrorism” in the country, the statement added, accusing Tehran of forming and arming “terrorist groups” and providing them with refuge.
Bahraini authorities said on Wednesday that they had uncovered a large stash of weapons and arrested a number of people suspected of having links with Iran and Iraq.
An interior ministry statement said arms and explosives were discovered in a house in the mainly Shia town of Nuwaidrat, south of the capital Manama.
The cache included a tonne and a half of C4 explosives and other explosive material, as well as automatic rifles, pistols and hand grenades, the ministry said.
In August, Bahrain arrested five people suspected of links with Iran in connection with a bombing that killed two policemen in the island state.