Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz has claimed in a tweet that a recent drone strike, which shut down a key oil pipeline in the kingdom, was “ordered by the regime in Tehran, and carried out by the Houthis”.
His remarks came as the Arab News newspaper published an editorial in which it called for “surgical” US strikes on Iran in retaliation.
It’s “clear that [US] sanctions are not sending the right message” to Iran and “they must be hit hard”, the article said without specifying targets in the Islamic Republic.
This was preceded by Saudi Arabia saying on Tuesday that it had halted pumping fuel through a major oil pipeline after it was hit by unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Saudi-led coalition retaliated by launching airstrikes on Houthi targets in the Yemeni capital Sanaa which reportedly killed at least six people, and wounded 40 more.
In late March, Gholamali Khoshrou, Iran's ambassador to the UN, argued that Riyadh accuses Iran of supporting Houthis in order to “cover up its defeats in Yemen”. In another development that month, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) denied that Tehran had provided the Houthi movement in Yemen with ballistic missiles, according to the Tasnim news agency.
The ongoing conflict in Yemen between the armed opposition Houthi faction and the Saudi-backed government headed by exiled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi began in 2015. After Hadi requested support from Riyadh in fighting the Houthis, tens of thousands of civilian casualties have died in airstrikes, with hostilities showing no sign of abating.
At the same time, President Trump voiced hope on Thursday that the US was not going to war with Iran.
The Islamic Republic, in turn, suspended some of its obligations under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, announcing the move precisely a year after Washington's move to exit from what is also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and re-introduce unilateral sanctions against Iran.
The US responded by slapping sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminium, and copper sectors.