Manama: Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has ruled out military intervention as a solution to the rebellion in north Yemen, saying that the situation there does not have a military solution and that dialogue and other peaceful means should be promoted to secure an end to the armed conflict.
"We have consistently insisted on an end to the conflict in Yemen. Yemen is a very important country and stability and development are highly significant in Yemen. The problem in the north can be solved through dialogue," Mottaki told journalists in Manama.
Iran has come under criticism by officials and journalists since the opening of the conference for its perceived role in supporting the Houthi rebels in northern Yemen.
However, Mouttaki in the opening speech of the conference and later at a press conference, said that Iran was not taking sides in the armed conflict.
"We stress Yemen's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our stance towards Yemen is very clear and we strongly believe in non-interference in its domestic affairs."
Bahrain's foreign minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said that Yemen would be at the top of the agenda of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait on Monday.
"We fully support Yemen at all levels, like we strongly supported Saudi Arabia in the defence of its territories against intruders. Stability is essential for GCC countries. However, we are weary of sectarian divide claims. This is not a Sunni-Shiite confrontation as many people like to portray. We do not even want to think about it in these terms because that is not true," he said.
"This was the case with Iraq when people started talking about conflicts between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. We are deeply concerned about this and we believe there is a need for a reconsideration of thinking and approaches," he said.
However, on Friday, Adel Al Mouawda, the chairman of the parliament's committee on foreign affairs, defense and national security, charged that "Iran of sowing division in the region by providing groups with dark ideas, money and weapons under the claims that it is the custodian of Shiites while in fact it seeks to expand its influence."
"Iran was not sincere in claiming that it was seeking to achieve cooperation and unity between the peoples of the region. Just look at what is happening in Yemen and you will know whether Iran is promoting unity or spreading divisions and wars in the region," said Al Mouawda, one of the seven MPs representing Al Asala, the Salafi group, in the lower house.
"The Iranian regime has interfered in the domestic affairs of Yemen under the excuse that it is keen on the interests of the Yemeni people. The Tehran government is supplying Houthis ideologically and is providing them with funds, weapons and training in order to stoke the armed conflict in Saudi Arabia's southern yard," said Al Mouawda.
The lawmaker charged that Iran was portraying the conflict in Yemen as a sectarian war. "We do not want t lose any blood drops from anyone, Muslim or not Muslim. In fact, we feel sorry for the Houthis who are used as proxies in the war. We here ask the Iranians: Why are you pushing the region to a war of hatred? The Saudis have been outstandingly composed in their reaction. The Iranians have accused the Saudis of killing Yemeni Shiites and this is a falsification of facts. The Houthis attacked the Saudis and Iran should have either remained silent or condemned the attack," he said.
On Friday evening, a US official said that the US had no proof that Iran was meddling in the domestic affairs of Yemen and that it supported the Houthi rebels.
"Many of our friends and partners have talked to us about the possibility of outside support to the Houthis and we have heard the theories about Iranian support to the Houthis, but we do not have independent information about this," Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said.