Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Saudi airstrikes near the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah show that the kingdom doesn’t believe “the fiction” of Iran’s role in attack in attacks on Aramco oil installations.
In post on his Twitter account on Friday, Zarif said that it was “curious” that Saudis, who had blamed Iran for last Saturday’s air raids on two major Saudi oil facilities, had retaliated against Hudaydah in violation of a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement signed in Stockholm in December 2018.
On September 14, Yemeni armed forces conducted a large-scale drone operation against Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oil field in response to the Saudi war on their country, causing a partial halt in crude and gas production from the world’s top oil exporter.
Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement immediately took credit for the attacks.
However, Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki claimed that the strikes were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”
Additionally, the US, a major sponsor of the Saudi military aggression against Yemen, swiftly pointed the finger at Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo describing the attacks as an “act of war” by Tehran.
US President Donald Trump also said the US was “locked and loaded” for a response at the behest of Saudi Arabia, although he later said that he wanted no conflict with any country.
Tehran rejected the baseless accusations of involvement in the raids, warning that any strike on it by Washington or Riyadh would result in “an all-out war”.
In a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition said it had destroyed four sites north of Hudaydah which were “used in assembling remote-controlled boats and sea mines” and carrying out attacks in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said the Hudaydah strikes were “a serious escalation that could torpedo the Sweden agreement.”
“The coalition will be responsible for the consequences of this escalation and we’ll be watching the UN stance on this situation closely,” he added.
Saudi Arabia and a coalition of its vassal states launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall a Riyadh-backed former regime and eliminate the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been defending the country along with the armed forces.
The Western-backed offensive, coupled with a naval blockade, has destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and led to a massive humanitarian crisis.
‘Houthis urge negotiations between warring parties’
Meanwhile, Ansarullah’s President of the Supreme Political Council in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, Mahdi al-Mashat called for talks among all parties involved in the persisting conflict.
He made the call after the popular movement said it will stop its retaliatory missile and drone attacks against positions inside Saudi Arabia if the Saudi-led coalition reciprocates the initiative in kind, and announces a halt to all sorts of air strikes against Yemen.
Mashat warned that the Houthis “would not hesitate to launch a period of great pain” if their call for peace was ignored.