YEMEN & IRAN: Mutual Concern for Regional Stability [Archives:1998/39/Law & Diplomacy]

September 28 1998

Dr. Sayyid Mohammed Reza Sadr, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, has recently visited Yemen.

Mohammed Bin Sallam of Yemen Times interviewed the senior Iranian official and filed the following:
Q: What is the purpose of your visit to Yemen?
A: The main objective behind my visit is to consolidate Yemeni-Iranian ties. There are many things in common between our Muslim peoples.
I met with the Prime Minister, Dr. Al-Iryani; the Speaker of Parliament, Sheikh Al-Ahmar and several other senior officials.
Q: How do you assess Yemeni-Iranian relations?
A: There is a lot of room for further improvement and expansion in our bilateral relations. A mutual desire exists to further strengthen bilateral cooperation. The main objective is to better serve the interests of our two fraternal peoples.
Q: How much aid and assistance does Iran provide to Yemen?
A: Iran gives Yemen some modest services, especially in medicine and pharmaceuticals. There is an Iranian medical center in Sanaa.
Also, scholarships are offered annually to Yemeni students at Iranian universities.
Q: Do you think there is more room for closer foreign policy coordination between Yemen and Iran?
A: Naturally, when ties are stronger, it is quite possible for the two countries to take similar stances towards certain world affairs. This was one of the topics of our talks with our brothers in Yemen.
Q: Can you be more specific about what you discussed with Yemeni officials?
A: We have, as I said, discussed issues of mutual concern in our region. We have also talked about foreign designs against our region and people.
Q: How is the border situation with Iraq?
A: We hope to reach a common ground soon to settle the issue once and for all.
Q: Where does the dispute with the UAE over the islands stand?
A: We believe that the dispute with the UAE over Abu Mousa Island will be resolved through constructive bilateral talks.
Q: Does Iran still seek to export the Islamic revolution?
A: The revolution and the rule in Iran are Islamic. The revolution has come to re-define Islam in the world.
Q: What is the objective of Iranian support for some factions in Afghanistan?
A: All the support we give is humanitarian in nature. There are certainly no ulterior motives behind it.
The Afghanis are a poor people and in great need of help and assistance. That is why we extend our help to that neighboring country.
Q: Do you think that some international parties are pushing Iran to a war with Afghanistan?
A: The memory of the great tragedy of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war is still fresh in our minds. The repercussions of that internecine conflict are still with us. Iran will never create another tragedy by entering into a new war.
The Iranian people, however, await a suitable response to the killing by Taliban of the Iranian diplomats. The Foreign Ministry in Iran is trying to ameliorate the people’s anger by finding an appropriate diplomatic and negotiated solution.
Q: What position is taken by Gulf countries towards the standoff with Taliban?
A: We expected the Gulf countries to adopt firmer and clearer stances concerning this issue. Syria, Yemen and Lebanon have adopted good positions.