The Houthis in Yemen announced the appointment of an "ambassador of the Republic of Yemen" in Tehran, a move that the internationally recognised Yemeni government considered as "a flagrant violation" of international laws. Tehran has not made any official comment on the issue of accepting the ambassador representing the unrecognised Houthi authority on its territory.
Al Masirah TV Channel reported Saturday night, on behalf of the Houthi movement, that "a decree was issued appointing Ibrahim Mohammed Mohammed Al-Dailami as extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the Islamic Republic of Iran."
The internationally recognised Yemeni president, Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi, Saudi Arabia's ally, cut ties with Iran in October 2015 and closed the Yemeni embassy in Tehran, after accusing it of backing the Houthis. Although Iran denied the accusations, the Iranian authorities insisted on their political support for the Houthi movement.
Hadi's government denounced the Houthi rebels' declaration, and tweeted that: "the announcement of a diplomatic exchange between Tehran and the Houthi militias is a blatant violation of international laws and the UN Security Council resolutions related to the Yemeni crisis," adding: that "this came as no surprise, as the announcement upgrades the relationship between both sides from coordination and receiving support under the table to a public level."
The announcement of the ambassador's appointment came after the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran held talks with Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam on Tuesday in Tehran.
Khamenei reiterated his support for the Houthis, who control the capital, Sanaa, and large areas in the north. He also accused Tehran's opponents of plotting to divide Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula. He conveyed in a statement issued after the talks:" I announce my support for the 'Mujahideen' in Yemen," while accusing "Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and their supporters of committing major crimes in Yemen."
Since 2014, Yemen has been witnessing a war between the Houthis and forces loyal to the internationally recognised government in Yemen. This conflict escalated with the intervention of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch-foe, in March 2015 in support of Hadi's government.
The conflict has led to the death of tens of thousands of people, including many civilians, according to various humanitarian organisations. There are still 3.3 million displaced people and 24.1 million people, more than two-thirds of the population, in need of help. The United Nations, which describes the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as the worst in the world today.