As the war of words intensified between Tehran and Riyadh, President Hassan Rouhani issued a warning to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday about Iran’s might, telling Riyadh that it will achieve nothing by threatening Iran.
"You know the might and status of the Islamic republic. People more powerful than you have been unable to do anything against the Iranian people," Rouhani said at his cabinet meeting.
Rouhani’s comments were the latest in a series of mutual recriminations, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accusing Iran of delivering missiles to Yemeni rebels.
Iran has denied the accusation, saying that the missile launches are a Yemeni issue.
Rouhani also defended the Houthi missile launch targeting Riyadh’s airport on Saturday, saying that this was a reaction to Saudi bombing of Yemen.
But he also engaged in uncharacteristically harsh attacks on the United States.
“There could be no doubts about American and Zionist plotting and enmity. Because for a long time they have been ill-wishers for the nations in the region and have consistently looked for excuses to establish their presence and domination to be able to take the oil and sell weapons, especially the new U.S. administration, which has an expertise in pick-pocketing regional countries, in particular Saudi Arabia”, Rouhani retorted.
In recent weeks, Rouhani has markedly softened his tone towards hardliners and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, after President Donald Trump de-certified the nuclear deal and imposed tougher sanctions on IRGC. But his remarks on Wednesday shows that he has also adopted a tougher tone regarding the U.S.