Iran embassy worker kidnapped in Yemen

Iran embassy worker kidnapped in Yemen

SANAA - Agence France-Presse
Iran embassy worker kidnapped in Yemen

Security measures have been tightened at the Iranian embassy in Sanaa.

Gunmen suspected of being members of al-Qaeda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in broad daylight on July 21 in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, police said.

“An Iranian diplomat was abducted in Sanaa by armed men,” a Yemeni security source said, adding that the envoy was “taken to an unknown destination.” “There are suspicions that Al-Qaeda is behind the kidnapping,” a Yemeni security officer said, although the police official said the kidnappers’ identities were not known.

In Tehran, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi told the ISNA news agency that “one of the administrative staff members of the Iranian Embassy in Yemen has been abducted by an unknown group.” “This person is Iranian,” Araqchi confirmed, naming him as Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht.

Iranian media said Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi had telephoned his Yemeni counterpart Abu Bakr al-Kurbi to say Tehran “condemned this inhumane act and urged the Yemen government to take serious action to release the diplomat.” The reports also said that Sanaa’s charge d’affaires was summoned to the foreign ministry in Tehran to hear “serious concerns regarding the fate of its diplomat.”

It was the first time an Iranian is known to be the victim of a kidnapping in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country. The abduction comes at a time of tensions between mostly Sunni Muslim Yemen and Shiite Iran, which has been accused by Sanaa of aiding Shiite Zaidi rebels in north Yemen.