PROTESTERS SHOUT slogans against the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi movement, in the southwestern city of Taiz..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Yemeni delegation led by Houthi political leader Saleh al-Samad left for a visit to Tehran.
Samad, head of the political council of Ansarullah, the Houthi political wing, is scheduled to stay for several days in Iran, Yemeni state news agency SA BA, which was taken over by the Houthis, reported on Sunday.
The Yemeni delegation will discuss with Iranian government officials ways to strengthen economic and political relations, Samad told SA BA.
Yemen and Iran signed a civil aviation deal on Saturday, a move that reflects Tehran’s support for the Shi’ite militia that now controls Sanaa.
Iran’s Mahan Air made its first flight from Tehran to Sanaa on Sunday under the agreement. The plane carried 12 tons of medical devices and medicine, delivered as a gift from the Iranian Red Crescent, said the report.
The deal signed in Tehran by the aviation authorities of both countries allows Yemen and Iran each to fly up to 14 flights a week in both directions, SA BA said. The websites of the Iranian and Yemeni national airlines indicated there were currently no flights between the two.
The Shi’ite Houthi militia seized Yemen’s capital in September, a move that led President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee last month to the port city of Aden where he is seeking to set up a rival power center.
Sunni countries in the Gulf fear that events in Yemen show Shi’ite power Iran asserting its influence, something Tehran denies.
Meanwhile, a drone attack killed two suspected al-Qaida insurgents in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa on Monday, local residents said, the latest in a series of strikes in the country gripped by political turmoil.
The attack targeted insurgents traveling in a vehicle in the Rikhwa region of Shabwa province, residents said.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ranks as one of the most active branches of the global network founded by Osama bin Laden.