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First flight from Iran arrives in rebel-held Yemen capital to warm reception

  • A plane from the Iranian private airline, Mahan Air lands the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived, Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent as Yemen's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    A plane from the Iranian private airline, Mahan Air lands the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived, Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent as Yemen's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Yemeni airport security official walks on the tarmac next to a plane from the Iranian private airline Mahan Air at the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived, Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent as Yemen's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    A Yemeni airport security official walks on the tarmac next to a plane from the Iranian private airline Mahan Air at the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived, Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent as Yemen's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent and other passengers arrive to the international airport of Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 01, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived Sunday as the country's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    Aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent and other passengers arrive to the international airport of Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 01, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived Sunday as the country's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital has arrived, as the country's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse.

Yemeni airport, security and transportation officials greeted the flight Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent.

The Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, signed an agreement with Iranian authorities in Tehran on Saturday to establish 14 direct flights per week between the two countries.

The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has fled Sanaa for the southern city of Aden, from where he says he is still the country's rightful ruler.