The United States Department of State accused on Wednesday Iran of intending “to use Houthis to expand its malign influence” in the region, especially after Tehran's appointment of Hassan Eyrlou, a Revolutionary Guard leader, as ambassador to coup-held Sanaa.
State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a Twitter post that Iran smuggled Eyrlou, a Revolutionary Guard military advisor with links to the terrorist Hezbollah group in Lebanon, “under the guise of “ambassador” to the Houthi militias.
"Iran's intent to use the Houthis to expand its malign influence is clear," Ortagus added in her tweet.
“The Yemeni people should say no to Eyrlou and Iran,” she concluded.
Statements made by Ortagus prove that Washington did not facilitate the transfer of Eyrlou to Sanaa onboard the plane transporting 283 injured Houthis being exchanged for two US kidnapped citizens.
Some Yemeni activists accused the US of including Eyrlou’s arrival to Sanaa in the exchange deal struck with the Houthis.
The US warning about Iran's growing subversive role in Yemen coincided with the State Department announcing a $5 million reward for anyone who provides information on the commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah’s special forces in Syria and Yemen, Haytham Tabtabai.
On Eyrlou’s appointment, the Yemeni government has submitted an official complaint to the UN Security Council, accusing Houthis of violating international diplomatic norms.
Saying that actions by the Iranian regime represent a dangerous precedent, the government warned that Tehran’s behavior threatens to violate the rights of UN member states.
According to the Yemeni government, Iran, by appointing an ambassador to Sanaa, had breached its international obligations and UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
The government called on the international community and the Security Council to condemn “the illegal Iranian practices and violations” and Tehran’s “blatant and continuous interference in Yemen’s internal affairs.”
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths immediately refuted the possibility that Eyrlou could have travelled on a UN aircraft.
The appointment of an ambassador to Sanaa marks the beginning of a new phase in Tehran’s relations with Houthis, especially given Eyrlou’s Revolutionary Guard background and his “plenipotentiary” authorities.