TEHERAN • President Hassan Rouhani warned Saudi Arabia yesterday that it would achieve nothing by threatening the might of Iran, as a war of words between the regional heavyweights intensifies.
"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.
"The United States and their allies have mobilised all their capabilities against us and achieved nothing," he said.
Mr Rouhani appeared to be alluding 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.
His comments came after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of delivering missiles to Yemeni rebels for use against targets in the kingdom that he described as "direct military aggression".
Iran strongly denied supplying any missiles to the rebels, saying that it would have been impossible to do so in any case in the face of a Saudi-led air and sea blockade.
Mr Rouhani said the missile attacks by the rebel Houthis targeting Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh were a reaction to what he called Saudi aggression.
CALL FOR SOLIDARITY
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.
IRANIAN PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI
"How should the Yemeni people react to bombardment of their country? So they are not allowed to use their own weapons? You stop the bombardment first and see if the Yemenis would not do the same," Mr Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
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," he added.
France's Foreign Ministry said yesterday it was taking accusations by the US that Iran had violated two United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions seriously and urged Iran to comply with all of its international commitments.
The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Iran on Tuesday of supplying Yemen's Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the UN to hold Teheran accountable for violating two UNSC resolutions.
"We take these American indications seriously and attach utmost importance to Iran's compliance with all of its international obligations, including the weapons transfer bans provided for in UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2231," the Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesman Alexandre Georgini told reporters in a daily briefing.
He did not respond when asked whether Paris supported potential measures at the Security Council.
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that he expected a "challenging" meeting with his Iranian counterpart in Teheran when he travels there later this month.
He is due to discuss Iran's ballistic missile programme, which Paris says goes against UNSC resolutions, and its regional activities.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS