Newspaper Confirms Iran Complicit in Houthi Missile Attack against Riyadh

Saudi air defense forces shot down the missile before it could hit the airport in the national capital. Experts ascertained that they were manufactured in Iran.

“A thorough examination of the debris of these missiles, including the missile launched on July 22, 2017, has confirmed the role of Iran’s regime in manufacturing these missiles and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people, and vital interests,” said the statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

However, on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted as saying the accusations by the Saudi-led Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen were “unjust, irresponsible, destructive and provocative.”

Iran described the missile attack as “an independent action” by the Yemenis in response to Saudi measures.

This was the first time a ballistic missile fired from Yemen reached close to the Saudi capital. Houthi insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kayhan newspaper, on Monday, ran a controversial headline that suggested that Houthi rebels in Yemen will next target Dubai, which prompted widespread reactions in Iran. Subsequently, Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance sent a written warning to the newspaper. IRNA news agency reported that the Secretary of the Board Responsible for Supervising the Iranian Press said the headline went “against national security and interests.”

However, activists promptly circulated an image of the front page, just moments before the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen published a statement regarding Iran’s role in supplying Houthis with missiles to strike the Kingdom.

The newspaper claimed that the missiles were accurate, and that their launch “confirms the seriousness of the threats of Abdul Malik al-Houthi.”

It added that there was a test of missile systems in the Gulf states, and pointed out that the Houthis’ decision to launch rockets was a response to developments in West Asia and to strong criticism by regional countries against Iran’s destabilizing role.

Media outlets close to the Revolutionary Guards announced their support for the missile fire on Saudi Arabia, and the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps purportedly welcomed the development of the range of missiles by the Houthis, but denied that Iran had the means to transfer missiles to Yemen.