Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 5 December 2019

Iran's Zarif visits Doha after talks with Houthi official

Foreign minister had expressed condolence over death of leader in Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebel group

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif travelled to Qatar on August 12, 2019, according to Iranian media. West Asia News Agency via Reuters
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif travelled to Qatar on August 12, 2019, according to Iranian media. West Asia News Agency via Reuters

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Qatari officials in Doha on Monday, a day after holding talks in Iran with a member of Yemen's Houthi rebel group.

Mr Zarif met Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for talks on ongoing tensions with the US in the Gulf, Iranian state-run media reported.

Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the Middle East and faces Iran from across the Gulf, the location of recent attacks on oil tankers, which the US has blamed on Iran.

On Sunday, Mr Zarif met Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam in Tehran, the Fars news agency said.

Mr Zarif offered condolences to the Iran-backed rebels on the death of Ibrahim Badreddin Al Houthi, younger brother of leader Abdulmalik Al Houthi.

Ibrahim was the de facto finance minister for the rebels. He was killed during factional infighting in the capital Sanaa, the Saudi-led coalition said on Sunday.

On Friday, the Houthis had blamed the US for the assassination of the Houthi leader.

But the coalition said Al Houthi had been killed as part of a dispute between different factions in the rebel group, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

Sources told The National his body was found at his home in Sanaa last week after he was killed in a power struggle among the rebel leadership.

Iran has fomented unrest in the region through its proxies, including the Houthi rebels, and is struggling to counter stringent sanctions imposed by the US after President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord last year.

Mr Trump said the deal failed to address Iran's destabilising activities in the region and its continued development of its ballistic missile arsenal.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have severed all ties with Qatar since June 2017 over its interference in the internal affairs of neighbours and support for extremist groups.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also leading members of a military coalition supporting Yemen's internationally recognised government against the Houthi rebels.

Updated: August 12, 2019 07:28 PM

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