Dubai: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir on Monday affirmed that the weekend ballistic missile attack on Riyadh by Iran-backed militias in Yemen was an Iranian “act of war”. In a wide-ranging interview with CNN yesterday, the kingdom’s top diplomat said that the Iranians cannot interfere in the affairs of countries in the region and “expect to get a free pass. There is no doubt that missiles and suicide boats are coming from Iran [to Al Houthis]”.
He said Saudi Arabia “reserves the right to respond in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time”.
“We want to avoid war [with Iran] at all costs,” he said, but added that Iran continues to violate “every international law and every international norm”.
Iran is waging a war through its regional proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Al Houthis in Yemen, he suggested, adding that “we must say enough is enough” to Iran.
Commenting on the issue, Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the attack on Riyadh makes Iran’s ballistic missiles issue an immediate priority. “We will not accept being under the threat of this programme,” he said on Twitter. He called for a unified Gulf position against the Iranian missile threat.
Meanwhile, Al Jubeir denied that the coalition’s closure of Yemen’s air, sea and land borders amounted to a blockade. “The coalition has said it will take into account the supply of humanitarian aid to Yemen. But we want to ensure that Al Houthis and the Iranians cannot smuggle weapons and missile technology into Yemen.”
And, speaking about the crackdown on corruption, he dismissed the notion that the measures Saudi Arabia had taken amounted to a “purge” and stressed that the kingdom “has a zero-tolerance policy towards supporting terrorism and extremism. And we also have a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption, waste and mismanagement [of public funds]. There is a good reason that each individual was detained.”