The commander for southwest Asia at US Air Forces Central Command, Jeffrey Harrigian, claimed on Friday that the missile, which targeted the country’s main airport near the capital last Saturday, was Iranian. The projectile, which was downed near the airport of the Saudi capital bore “Iranian markings,” according to Harrigian, who added that an investigation was underway into how it was smuggled to Yemen despite the Saudi naval and air blockade.
The missile incident proves that Iran has made it possible for ballistic missile attacks to be launched from Yemen, the official claimed. Harrigian declined to give any specifics on the exact type of missile the US believed it to be.
While both US and Saudi officials, as well as other politicians, expressed confidence that the projectile originated from Iran, no evidence supporting that claim has been presented so far.
The uncovered wreckage of the missile indicated “the role of the Iranian regime in manufacturing,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier this week, without providing further details.
French President Emmanuel Macron, in his turn, simply put it that the missile was “obviously” Iranian – also without giving any proof.
While the blame for the missile launch was promptly pinned on Iran, Tehran has firmly denied its involvement. The Iranian Foreign Ministry branded the allegations “destructive, irresponsible, provocative and baseless,” adding that the missile launch was an “independent” response by Yemenis to Saudi aggression.
The ministry’s statement was echoed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said that Riyadh itself was actually to blame, as the Yemeni fighters were only protecting their country from Saudi bombings.
“How should the Yemeni people react to the bombardment of their country? So they are not allowed to use their own weapons? You stop the bombardment first and see if the Yemenis would not do the same,” Rouhani said on Wednesday.