The Iranian Foreign Ministry hit back at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his claim that Tehran was involved in recent drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities, saying instead of making such “futile efforts” against Iran, the UK had better stop its arms sales to the kingdom.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi on Monday vehemently rejected Johnson’s claim that Iran was behind the September 14 attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
“Instead of making futile efforts against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the British government had better stop the sales of deadly weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is the demand of many people in the world, and clear itself of the charge of war crimes against the Yemeni people,” he said.
Johnson on Sunday blamed Iran for the attacks in Saudi Arabia and said that the UK would consider taking part in US-led military actions to support Saudi defenses.
While flying to New York late Sunday for the UN General Assembly, Johnson told reporters “the UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran” for the attacks by drones and cruise missiles.
The remarks came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday reiterated Washington’s plan to build a maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf to deter what he called Iranian threats.
He was speaking after talks with Saudi and Emirati leaders over last weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Tehran. Iran denies any involvement in the attack.
The Yemeni forces on September 14 launched drone attacks on two plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, including the world’s biggest petroleum processing facility.
The attacks came in retaliation for the Saudi-led coalition’s continued aggression on the Arabian Peninsula country.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
The Saudi war has impacted over seven million children in Yemen who now face a serious threat of famine, according to UNICEF figures. Over 6,000 children have either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015, UN children’s agency said. The humanitarian situation in the country has also been exacerbated by outbreaks of cholera, polio, and measles.