Iran threatens Saudi Arabia over Yemen

Iran condemns Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen and threatens the kingdom over its attempts to restore Abd Mansur Hadi to power

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The foreign affairs minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has warned Saudi Arabia to discontinue its military campaign in Yemen, stating the war would “bring harm” to the kingdom, Reuters has reported.

Iran has frequently noted its annoyance with the Saudi intervention in Yemen, which began in April as the kingdom aimed to contain the Iran-backed Houthis following the start of their battle against the forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi for control of the country.

Zarif made his remarks in Kuwait where he was attending a meeting of the Islamic Organisation Conference (IOC) in one of Tehran's most direct attempts yet to engage Gulf Arab countries on the crisis in Yemen.

"We say to our Saudi brothers that we want a brighter future for all countries in the region, and what they are doing in Yemen will end up harming them," Zarif was quoted as saying.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been in a conflict over influence in the Middle East with Tehran and Riyadh supporting rival forces in conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen, mostly along sectarian lines.

According to Saudi Arabia, the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria is the biggest cause of regional instability and Iran’s support of militias in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen along with Assad in Syria, has raised sectarian tensions in the Middle East.

Gulf countries have criticised Iran for supporting the Houthi rebels and believe the country aims to make Yemen its backyard in the Arabian Peninsula.

Kuwaiti newspapers published a letter from Zarif which calls for dialogue between Tehran and its Arab neighbours to resolve the region's crises.

"Solving this artificial [nuclear] crisis and distancing the region from a military confrontation is in favour of peace ... and in the interest of all Muslim states," he said in the letter.

Zarif was quoted as saying Saudi Arabia should work with Tehran rather than with the United States to settle the region's conflict, referring to a US-Gulf Arab summit earlier this month at Camp David, Maryland.

"Why do you go to Camp David when we are right next to you and want to pursue good relations, and when America does not wish you well and pursues its own interests?" he said.

He said that Iran wants to have good relations with gulf countries as well.

TRTWorld and agencies