Iran counters Saudi accusations over missile attack with threats

Responding to Saudi accusations that it attacked the kingdom, Iran warns of its “power and position” in the region.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

In the latest escalation in the exchange of sharp rhetoric  between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Saudi Arabia of his country’s “power and position,” after the latter accused Tehran of committing an act of war.

Iran’s Fars News reported Wednesday that Rouhani addressed Saudi Arabia and said that it is “well aware of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s power and position, and powers bigger than you [Saudi Arabia] have not been able to do anything against the Iranian nation. The US and its allies mobilized all their possibilities and power but they could do nothing.”

Speaking during a cabinet meeting, Rouhani was responding to Saudi threats that a missile attack on an airport near Riyadh earlier this week, supposedly backed by Iran, constitutes an act of war.

Saudi Arabia on Monday accused the Shiite Hezbollah terror group of being behind Saturday’s missile attack on one of the kingdom’s major international airports on the outskirts of Riyadh.

The missile, fired towards King Khalid International Airport, was shot down by the Saudi air defense forces, with fragments landing in an uninhabited area north of the capital.

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir told CNN on Monday that “it was an Iranian missile, launched by Hezbollah, from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen.”

“We see this as an act of war,” al-Jubeir said. “Iran cannot lob missiles at Saudi cities and towns and expect us not to take steps.”

“If you [the Saudis] think that not Iran, but the US and the Zionist regime are your friends, this thought is a strategic mistake and miscalculation,” Rouhani stated, apparently referring to US support of the kingdom.

The US has backed the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen with logistical support. Responding to the attack on the Suadi airport, Trump immediately put some of the blame on Iran.

Rouhani accused Riyadh of “warmongering policies” in the region which have driven it to launch a war against Yemen and “reinvigorate terrorists in Syria and Iraq.”

Iran blames Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel for purportedly backing Sunni Islamic terror groups operating in the region, and especially the Islamic State (ISIS).

Iran Complains to UN

The Iranian foreign ministry has dismissed the Saudi allegations as “baseless.”

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshrou sent a letter to the UN Security Council (UNSC) calling on the international community to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to avoid “threat to use of force” against other countries.

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In his letter, Khoshrou condemned the “baseless accusations” recently leveled against Iran by the Saudi officials.

The letter asked the United Nations to urge Saudi Arabia to respect international laws, the United Nations Charter and to stop threatening other states.

“Such provocative statements by the Saudis are nothing but an attempt to shift the blame and to distract attention from its war of aggression against Yemen,” Khoshrou charged. “However, this cannot exonerate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from its international responsibility for committing war crimes and violating the international humanitarian law, including further blocking humanitarian access to an already famine-stricken Yemen.”

Yemen is one of several battlegrounds in the Middle East in which Iran is backing Shiite forces against Sunni forces, in many cases backed by Saudi Arabia, as part of the ongoing proxy war between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The Muslim powers are vying for supremacy in the Middle East.