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Yemen’s Hadi pledges to fight Iran influence

AFP I A picture released by the Yemeni Presidency on March 21 shows President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in the southern city of Aden

Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi pledged Saturday to fight Iran's influence in his violence-wracked country, accusing Shiite Huthi militia of importing Tehran's ideology.

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In a televised speech, Hadi said he would ensure that "the Yemeni republic flag will fly on the Marran mountain in (the northern Huthi stronghold) Saada, instead of the Iranian flag."

"The Iranian twelver (Shiism) pattern that has been agreed upon between the Huthis and those who support them will not be accepted by Yemenis, whether Zaidi (Shiites) or Shafite (Sunnis)," he added.

It was the first televised speech by Hadi since he fled house arrest in militia-held Sanaa last month and resurfaced in Aden which he declared the temporary capital.

Tehran is accused of backing the Shiite militiamen who seized Sanaa in September, but the Huthis insist that Iran does not meddle in Yemeni affairs.

The Huthi-run Saba news agency reported last week that Iran will supply Yemen with crude oil for one year, and also establish a 165-megawatt power plant.

The agreement was made during a Huthi visit to the Islamic republic after an Iranian commercial flight landed in Sanaa earlier this month -- the first in many years and the fruit of an aviation accord with Tehran.

Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch-rival in the Gulf, is a strong backer of Hadi.

(AFP)

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