Hassan Rouhani warns Saudi Arabia of Iran's 'power'
Tehran: President Hassan Rouhani warned Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that it will 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," Rouhani said.
"The United States and their allies have mobilised all their capabilities against us and achieved nothing."
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.
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." While President Trump continues his 12-day tour of Asia, the White House has condemned the missile attack by Yemen's Houthi militias on Saudi Arabia and said Iran "enabled" the launch amid increasing instability in the Middle East.
In a statement, the White House said: "Houthi missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, enabled by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, threaten regional security and undermine UN efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict."
The news comes after Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of arming militias - something he branded a "clear act of aggression" which could be considered "an act of war".
Iran has denied the accusations and instead mocked Saudi Arabia.
The country's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on Twitter this week: "KSA [the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing 1000s of innocents including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but of course blames Iran.
"KSA is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilising behaviour & risky provocations. It blames Iran for the consequences."
On Tuesday, Iran's deputy foreign minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi has accused Washington of trying to "cloud the atmosphere" for foreign firms considering investing in Iran after President Trump declared the US would decertify the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last month. The 2015 deal saw the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany agree to gradually lift sanctions on Iran in return for a peaceful nuclear programme.
Speaking at a conference in Paris, Mr Takht-Ravanchi has confirmed Iran will not be the first to leave the deal, but warned the country is preparing itself for every scenario.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired from Yemen close to a major airport - which has prompted a rapid decline in relations between the longterm foes.
The missile is believed to have been fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels, with the backing of the Iranian regime.
Yemen's Houthi rebels have been fighting against the internationally-recognised government, headed by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, in a civil war that started in 2015.