Yemen’s state news agency Saba cited U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein as accusing Iran of supporting south Yemeni leaders trying to revive the formerly independent state of South Yemen, and naming Ali Salem al-Beidh, who runs a pro-independence satellite TV station from Lebanon, as one of them.

“There is evidence that proves Iran’s support to some extreme elements of the southern movement (al-Hirak),” Feierstein was quoted by Saba as saying in remarks reported in Arabic.

“Ali Salem al-Beidh resides in Beirut and receives financial support from the Iranian government. We have no doubt that he is responsible for efforts to foil the Gulf initiative (for democratic transition in Yemen) by supporting the calls for secession.”

Yemen is grappling with al Qaeda militants and Shi’ite Muslim rebels in the north as well as the southern separatists. Its location flanking top oil producer Saudi Arabia – Iran’s Sunni Muslim regional adversary – and major shipping lanes have made restoring its stability an international priority.