Yemen blames Iran after weapons haul

Map of Yemen

Yemen's president has called on Iran to stop backing armed groups in his country after coastguards seized a ship carrying missiles and rockets.

Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's message came amid speculation the weapons originated in the Iran.

Tehran has denied any connection to the weapons; Yemen has asked the UN Security Council to investigate.

The Sanaa government fears Iran is working with separatists and rebels in the south to destabilise the country.

The weapons were found aboard a vessel intercepted off Yemen's coast on 23 January in an operation co-ordinated with the US Navy.

Officials say the shipment included anti-aircraft missiles, Katyusha rockets, rocket propelled grenades and C4 explosives.

Reports suggest the weapons were destined for the Red Sea port of Al-Mukha, and that their intended recipients were the Houthis - a Shia insurgent group based in northern Yemen.

Government official Abdel-Rashid Abdel Hafez said Mr Mansour Hadi had contacted his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to demand Tehran stop smuggling in weapons.

Mr Abdel Hafez gave no more details about the correspondence.

Correspondents say the discovery of the shipment will further sour ties between Iran and Yemen.

Yemen has requested the shipment be investigated by the UN Security Council's group of experts that monitors compliance with the Iran sanctions regime.

If the sanctions committee finds the shipment originated in Iran, that would breech a ban on arms exports.

Yemen is considered a stronghold of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP). Militants have gained ground because of the weakness of the central government.

A US-backed military offensive last year pushed the militants back from some of its strongholds in the south, but AQAP is viewed by the US as as the most active and deadly wing of al-Qaeda's terror network.

More on This Story

Yemen unrest

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Middle East stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cerro RicoSatanic mines

    Devil worship in the tunnels of the man-eating mountain

  • Nefertiti MenoeWar of words

    The woman who sparked a row over 'speaking white'

  • Oil pumpPump change

    What would ending the US oil export ban do to petrol prices?

  • Brazilian Scene, Ceara, in 1893Sir Snapshot

    19th Century Brazil seen through the eyes of an Englishman

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SailingGame on

    BBC Capital discovers why certain sports seem to have a special appeal for those with deep pockets


  • Prof Piot, the first person to indentify Ebola virusHARDtalk Watch

    Ebola expert warns travellers could spread the disease further if it is not contained

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.