Members of the rogue terrorist regime in Iran praised Yemen’s Houthi insurgency on Wednesday for claiming a series of drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities over the weekend – but condemned Washington and Riyadh for claiming evidence implicated Iran.
Saturday’s attacks on oil installations owned by Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil company on Saturday threatened to severely destabilize the global petroleum market. Riyadh claimed by Wednesday, however, that its oil production had returned to pre-attack levels.
The Shiite Houthi movement, which Iran supports in its civil war against the internationally recognized government of Yemen, has repeatedly threatened Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for opposing its violent takeover of the country and bombed Saudi airports. The Houthis have blocked humanitarian aid from entering the country – the most impoverished in the Middle East – and are believed to have brainwashed tens of thousands of children into becoming child soldiers for the movement.
As Shiite jihadists, the Houthis are closely tied to Iran and its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, for which it has engaged in fundraising activities.
The Houthis wage war under the slogan “God is great, death to the U.S., death to Israel, a curse on the Jews, and victory for Islam.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed his cabinet Wednesday, applauding the Houthis for not bombing a highly populated civilian target.
“The Yemenis did not hit a school, a hospital or a market, but attacked an industrial center to warn their enemies,” Rouhani said. According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Rouhani “[advised] the enemies of the region to learn lessons from that warning and try to put out the flames of war in the region, so that people could enjoy freedom and welfare.”
He clearly defined the “enemies” as the United States, Europe, the Sunni states, and Israel. America has helped the UAE and Saudi coalition in Yemen in an advisory role; it is not clear what Rouhani claimed Israel’s or Europe’s participation in the Yemen civil war is.
“We should know that the Yemeni nation has not started the clashes, rather, it was Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Americans, a number of European countries, and the Zionist regime that have waged war in the region and devastated Yemen,” Rouhani reportedly said.
Rouhani also took the opportunity to celebrate that Hezbollah has “great scientific and military capabilities” and to applaud the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Iran-backed militias operating in Iraq that have been accused of widespread torture and ethnic cleansing against the region’s indigenous Kurdish population.
Lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi went further than President Rouhani on Wednesday, applauding the Houthis as “smart” for bombing Aramco facilities. Boroujerdi is a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, making his remarks particularly reflective of the regime’s opinion.
The official state news agency Fars covered his remarks.
“Despite lack of equipment, Yemen has smart people. They adopted a clever retaliatory measure in recent days and used their right to self-defense,” Boroujerdi said. “Yemen’s measure was a reaction to various illegal actions and war crimes of Saudi Arabia and had nothing to do with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Iran identifies the Houthi jihadists as the official government of Yemen despite international agreement that exiled leader Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi is the president of Yemen.
Iran’s open celebration of the attacks has posed a challenge to Defense Minister Amir Hatami, who has been tasked with insisting Iran had nothing to do with the drone strikes.
“It is crystal clear. A clash has occurred between two countries. One side of the clash are the Yemenis, who have announced explicitly that they have done the job,” Hatami said on Wednesday. “In military terms, the Yemenis had carried out a similar operation around two years ago, and had attacked an airport in the United Arab Emirates and fired a missile with a range of 1,200 kilometers.”
Hatami also defended the attack as necessary because the Saudis had engaged in “harsh military attacks” on the Houthis, state media reported.
Iran’s foreign ministry has also rejected blame, calling American and Saudi assurances they have proof of Tehran’s involvement “baseless and untrue.”
Iran threatened America on Monday with an official diplomatic memo – sent through Switzerland, as Iran and America have no formal diplomatic ties – warning that Iran will retaliate if exposed as having a role in the attack.
“Iran in its memo rejected involvement in offensives on the Saudi oil installations on Saturday, condemning US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other American officials’ allegations,” Iranian state-run Fars News Agency reported. “The memo also warned that if any attack is launched against Iran, the Islamic Republic’s reaction will be rapid and crushing and will likely target more extensive areas than the origin of the attack.”
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also dismissed the possibility of any diplomatic talks with the United States after the attacks, citing President Donald Trump writing on Twitter that Washington was “locked and loaded” to defend Saudi Arabia from terrorist attacks.
President Trump sent Pompeo to Saudi Arabia this week to discuss the attack and potential responses. American officials have reportedly confirmed that the drones that attacked Saudi oil installations flew south into Saudi Arabia from Iran, not north into the country out of Yemen. The White House has not confirmed the anonymously sourced reports in American media that the drones came directly from Iran or violated Kuwaiti airspace to hit their targets.