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Wed 8 Apr 2015 07:54 PM

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UAE says sees Iranian meddling in Yemen, region

UAE's foreign minister says Gulf states have little grounds for hoping they can build ties with Tehran

UAE says sees Iranian meddling in Yemen, region
Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan. (AFP/Getty Images)

Iran is meddling in Yemen's conflict and elsewhere in the region, the UAE foreign minister said on Wednesday, and Gulf Arab states had little grounds for hoping they could build normal ties with Tehran.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed added at a news conference that a Saudi-led coalition now attacking Iranian-allied Houthi fighters in Yemen wanted a UN Security Council resolution requiring all parties to take part in dialogue and imposing a ban on arms purchases by Houthis and other groups "that are out of line".

Asked about evidence to back up allegations by Saudi- and US-backed Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi that Shi'ite Muslim Iran provided support for Shi'ite Houthi militia fighters opposed to his rule, Sheikh Abdullah replied: "Iran is not carrying out this activity only in Yemen, it is doing the same activity in Lebanon, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

"Someone might say that the information provided by Yemen is not accurate, but there is systematic action that has been going for years on the idea of exporting the (Iranian) revolution."

Sunni Muslim Gulf Arabs could have "positive, normal" ties with Tehran, he said, "but Iran is not giving its partners in the region this hope... Each time we try to come close to Iran it starts spoiling the region, making (matters) difficult for our countries."

Iran denies arming the Houthis and has condemned the Saudi-led offensive against the Houthis of which the UAE is a part. It sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, saying they would protect Iranian shipping.