Iranian President Warns Saudi Arabia of Tehran’s ‘Might’ as War of Words Intensifies

Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Jewel Samad, AFP

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that it will achieve nothing by threatening Tehran and underscored the “might” of the republic as a war of words between the regional heavyweights intensified.

Mr. Rouhani’s comments came after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of delivering missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen for use against targets in the kingdom that he described as “direct military aggression.”

Iran has strongly denied supplying any missiles to the rebels, saying that it would have been impossible to do so in the face of a Saudi-led air and sea blockade.

Tehran has hit back against the increasingly fierce rhetoric from Riyadh with strong words of its own, troubling international oil markets.

“You know the might and place of the Islamic republic. People more powerful than you have been unable to do anything against the Iranian people,” Mr. Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting in remarks aimed at Saudi leaders. “The United States and their allies have mobilised all their capabilities against us and achieved nothing.”

Rouhani referred to the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, in which revolutionary Iran successfully resisted an invasion by Saddam Hussein‘s regime supported by Gulf Arab and Western governments.

Mr. Rouhani reiterated that Iran wanted a peaceful settlement of the conflict between the rebels and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, and of other wars around the region that have placed it at loggerheads with Riyadh.

“We want the welfare and development of Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and of Saudi Arabia too. There are no other paths forward than friendship, brotherhood and mutual assistance,” he said.

“If you think that Iran is not your friend and that the United States and the Zionist regime [Israel] are, you are making a strategic and analytical error.”