00:34 GMT24 July 2021
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    The Iranian president also criticized Riyadh’s conduct in the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen, claiming that the US-backing essentially allowed Saudi forces to carry out bombings against Yemeni civilians.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Saudi Arabia would not have murdered prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi without American protection, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

    "No one would imagine that in today's world and a new century that we would witness such an organised murder and a system would plan out such a heinous murder," Rouhani said. "I don't think that a country would dare commit such a crime without the protection of America."

    Jamal Khashoggi, who has been working for The Washington Post as a columnist and is known for his criticism of Saudi authorities, went missing in Istanbul on October 2 after he entered the Saudi consulate and never came out. The incident caused an outcry in Turkey as well as in many Western countries.

    After denying any knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts for two weeks, Saudi Arabia admitted on Friday that the journalist had died in a fight inside its consulate. Riyadh also said that 18 people had been arrested over their involvement in the incident. Turkey is conducting a separate investigation into the journalist's death.

    READ MORE: Germany Rethinks Weapons Sales to Saudi Arabia Over Jamal Khashoggi's Death

    The Iranian president also insisted that it was thanks to the US protection that Saudi Arabia was able to carry out bombings against civilians in Yemen's war.

    "If there was no American protection, would the people of Yemen still have faced the same brutal bombing?" Rouhani inquired.

    Yemen has been engulfed in an armed conflict between the government forces led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels for several years. The Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf nations has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request since March 2015.

    READ MORE: Riyadh Turns Three-Year Yemen War into Humanitarian Crisis — Report

    According to a recent UN report, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes were responsible for most of more than 16,000 civilians killed or injured in the Yemen conflict over the past three years.



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    accusations, Jamal Khashoggi, Hassan Rouhani, Saudi Arabia, Iran
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