Coalition warns Iran as Saudi foils missile raid

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Donald Trump

"So, in order to divert the regional and world nations' attention from their crimes, they (Saudi officials) make some claims, including the accusation that Iran is sending weapons to the Yemeni nation and reinforcing the Ansarullah Movement by supplying it with arms", said the top military official.

The Saudi letter to the UN coincided with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in NY.

The Saudi government has threatened Tehran with retaliation after Houthi rebels fired seven missiles into Saudi Arabia last weekend.

A U.S. official said Washington would support Saudi Arabia's "right to defend its borders" following missile attacks on the kingdom from Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi militia.

The Houthis expelled pro-government forces from the capital Sanaa in September 2014 and went on to seize swathes of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

"If Iran is genuinely committed to supporting a political solution in Yemen - as it has publicly stated - then it should stop sending in weapons which prolong the conflict, fuel regional tensions, and pose threats to worldwide peace and security", they claimed in the joint statement.

Shaul Mofaz
Shaul Mofaz

Iran has repeatedly denied arming the Huthis in Yemen, despite claims by the United States and Saudi Arabia that the evidence of an arms connection is irrefutable.

Iran basically believes in no other solution than a political one to the conflict in Yemen, Khoshrou said.

Military escalation in response to the latest rocket salvo could mean more coalition air strikes - which have been widely criticised for killing civilians - or mobilising the Saudi National Guard from a mostly static position along the border to undertake a concerted ground assault inside northern Yemen.

The policy statements from Washington, the brand new regiment of sanctions and the appointment of incoming national security adviser, John Bolton - a foreign policy radical, who unequivocally supports wars with Iran and North Korea, indicates the Trump administration's readiness to take on Tehran.

The Saudis have maintained the narrative that Iran is behind the Yemen War throughout, but have struggled to prove the weapons smuggling they allege.

Saudi Arabia, which has been blamed for most civilian casualties in Yemen, is infamous for what human rights groups call "blackmailing" the United Nations to keep silent on its atrocities in Yemen.

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