Iran says Saudi Arabia’s decision to invade Yemen is the result of the Riyadh regime’s “delusions” about its military power and the “strategic mistake” it made by undermining Yemeni people’s ability to defend themselves.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Monday the fact that the Saudi side has agreed to sit down with the Houthi movement for peace talks speaks volumes about the thinking process that led Saudi Arabia and its allies to make their move.
“I think the Saudi-led coalition was preoccupied with this delusion that they could fulfill their objectives in Yemen in no time,” Qassemi told Iran’s Arabic language network Al Alam in an interview published Monday.
“They made a strategic mistake and began their operation without having a true understanding of occupation, invasion and Yemen’s history.”
The diplomat blasted Riyadh and its regional allies – including the UAE – for steaming ahead with their plans despite advice from “people who knew the region well and knew what awaits occupation and invasion.”
He said it was obvious from the get-go that Yemen will endure and will do all it takes to defend itself against aggression.
“That is why we were certain from the beginning that a military solution was always bound to fail in Yemen, no matter the size of Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s arsenal and how much weapons their allies sent them,” Qassemi continued.
“And as you can see, today we are at a stage wherein both sides have come to the negotiating table to think of a political solution for future,” he added.
Houthi officials traveled to Swedish capital, Stockholm, last week to partake in UN-brokered peace talks with groups loyal to Yemen’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The new UN-led peace initiative aims for, as a first step, an end to the maritime and aerial blockades that Saudi Arabia maintains on the impoverished country.
Iran has hailed preliminary deals between Yemeni parties, including resuming flights from Sana’a airport, expressing hope that they would prepare the ground for the next round of talks in order to reach a final agreement.
Qassemi described the talks as a “great triumph” for the Houthi movement and the Yemeni people. Their resistance, Qassemi said, forced Saudi leaders and the US to come to the negotiation table.
Iran proxy war ‘a lie’
Qassemi denied allegations that Iran was providing weapons to the Houthi fighters and said the Saudi blockade in Yemen had made any connection with the Houthis virtually impossible.
He also denounced allegations of a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen as “an obvious and blatant” lie put forward by the coalition.
US ‘psychological war’
Qassemi also held a press briefing on Monday, where he dismissed reports that Chinese and Russian companies were withdrawing from Iranian oil projects under US pressure.
He said unless there were any official confirmations, such reports always amounted to “psychological warfare.”
“Of course the US is seeking to pressure energy giants in the West and the East to cut ties with Iran… but any developments in this area will be announced by the Oil Ministry,” he said.
US President Donald Trump promised earlier this year that he would drive Iran’s oil exports to zero under a new sanctions regime but was forced to exempt the eight main purchasers of Iranian crude after failing to find replacements in the global market.
Trade ties to grow despite US pressure
The diplomat also noted that Washington’s threats of financial punishments have failed to affect Iran’s growing trade ties with its western neighbor, Iraq.
Calling Baghdad one of Tehran’s “good partners,” Qassemi said Washington was “trying in vain” to disrupt this relationship.