IMMEDIATE IRANIAN REACTION TO SUNNI ARAB MILITARY CAMPAIGN TO PUSH BACK SHI’ITE EXPANSION: CALLS FOR HOUTHIS TO ATTACK SAUDI OIL WELLS AND TANKERS, OPERATE IN SAUDI TERRITORY AND STRAITS OF BAB AL-MANDEB AND HORMUZ
Immediately following the launch of Saudi-led Sunni Arab coalition attacks on the Houthi rebels in Yemen on March 26, 2015, Tehran – the patron of Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis, to whom it provides comprehensive military and financial support – threatened Saudi Arabia and warned that the attack would harm it to the point that its own regime would collapse. These threats were voiced by both of Iran’s political camps.
The website Khabar Online, which is affiliated with Iran’s pragmatic camp, led by Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Hassan Rohani, called on the Houthis to launch an all-out attack on oil fields, tankers, and industrial facilities in Saudi Arabia, as well as to operate deep inside Saudi territory and conduct retaliatory strikes against Saudi interests in the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb, the Red Sea, and even the Strait of Hormuz. The website also called on members of the resistance axis to use Saudi Arabia’s focus on the Yemeni arena to inflict losses upon it in other Shi’ite-Sunni conflict zones in the Middle East such as Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain.
Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Ismail Kothari estimated that the Saudi attack on Yemen would lead to the collapse of the Saudi regime, and called on the Saudi people to rise up against the Al-Saud regime, which he claims launched the attack against Yemen’s Houthis on American-Israeli orders. The committee chairman, Ala Al-Din Boroujerdi, warned Saudi Arabia that the war would spill over into its own territory. Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Abbas Ka’bi predicted that Yemen would become a quagmire for Saudi Arabia, and that it would not succeed in imposing a Saudi-American puppet regime on the country.
On his way to Switzerland for another round of talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif demanded to immediately halt Saudi Arabia’s Sunni-Arab coalition attacks on Yemen.
Khabar Online: The Houthis Now Have The Pretext To Launch Military Operations And Retaliatory Strikes In Saudi Arabia, Bab Al-Mandeb, The Red Sea, And Even The Strait Of Hormuz
On March 26, 2015, the website Khabar Online published an article titled “The Attack on the Yemeni Revolution: The Arena Of Retaliation Stretches From Bab Al-Mandeb To The Strait Of Hormuz”, which stated: “Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia gathered several countries… to ensure that the implications of its attack on the popular revolution in Yemen would be directed at a coalition of Arab countries, the consequences of this move will undoubtedly be directed at its own interests. The Saudi-Western front wants to restrict Ansar Allah to North Yemen and distance the Houthis from [the Strait of] Bab Al-Mandeb. [Therefore,] it is possible that they would go as far as splitting Yemen or occupying parts of the south to realize this goal… Now the Houthis also have the necessary pretext to launch military operations and retaliatory strikes deep inside Saudi territory, in Bab Al-Mandeb, the Red Sea, and even the Strait of Hormuz. The foremost high priority targets for them are the oil fields, tankers, and industry.
“The Saudis are unable to destroy the Houthis and the popular revolution in Yemen and the Houthis are unable to invade Saudi Arabia and destroy it. However, the Houthis have lived with such bombings for years. Two years ago, [ousted Yemeni president] ‘Ali ‘Abdallah Saleh bombed their mountain positions for months in coordination with Saudi Arabia, but the Houthis have only grown stronger [since then]. The Saudis in their ivory towers are undoubtedly more vulnerable than the Houthis and the Yemeni people.
“Riyadh’s focus on Yemen and [their] high alert, which stems from the fear of Houthi retaliation, could reduce their attention and focus on the other fronts in the region, including Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain. This is a good opportunity for the other fronts to grow stronger against Saudi Arabia. The Saudis know full well that they cannot bear a war of attrition and it is possible that they will seek a mediator for a political compromise in Yemen. According to the famous saying, ‘he who starts [the war] is not necessarily the one who ends it,’ we must see whether the Houthis will be prepared to end this new chapter that the Saudis mistakenly started or not.”
Majlis Officials: The War Will Not Be Confined To Yemeni Territory; Saudi Arabia’s Attack Will Lead To Its Own Collapse
In an interview with the Fars news agency on March 26, 2015, Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Ismail Kothari, who is a former member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said: “In the first days, Saudi Arabia will be ostensibly successful, but it will undoubtedly suffer a blow that will lead to its collapse. The Saudi army is being aided by the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Egypt, but [the security of] these countries is itself questionable. America and Israel are the chief decision-makers of the Saudi military attack against Yemen and are in charge of the means and the policy planning on this matter. The Saudi people must protest since this attack will harm Saudi Arabia itself as well.”
Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Ala Al-Din Boroujerdi added that the attack was carried out with American authorization and that “Saudi Arabia is igniting a new war in the region as part of its disregard for and irresponsibility towards the problems of the Islamic ummah. The smoke from this fire will get in Saudi Arabia’s eyes, since war is never confined to a single point.”
Assembly Of Experts Member: Yemen Will Become A Quagmire For The Aggressors
Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Abbas Ka’bi told the Fars news agency on March 26, 2015: “The purpose of this attack is to impose a Saudi-American puppet regime on the Yemeni people… This military attack will pave the road to the presence of ISIS, takfiris, and Al-Qaeda in Yemen. The attacking forces will undoubtedly be defeated and Yemen will become a quagmire for the aggressors.”
Zarif: The Regional Countries Attacking Yemen And The West Are Becoming Collaborators For Al-Qaeda And ISIS
In a press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the outskirts of the current round of nuclear talks between Iran and the U.S., Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “We call on all regional countries and on the West to be careful to not become collaborators of Al-Qaeda and ISIS in these shortsighted games… Since the start of the Yemen crisis, Iran has demanded national dialogue among Yemeni circles and the establishment of a unity government to combat terrorist extremism and takfiri circles. Iran believes that this is the only way to solve the crisis in Yemen. We must find a way to immediately stop this attack and launch dialogue to find a solution. Iran has devoted all its efforts to limit and restrain this crisis and with God’s help, it will continue with these efforts.”
Appendix: Recent MEMRI Articles On Iranian Relations With Saudi Arabia, The GCC, And The Arab World
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6004, Iran Escalates Naval Threat Against U.S. In Persian Gulf, March 24, 2015.
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5991, Advisor To Iranian President Rohani: Iran Is An Empire, Iraq Is Our Capital; We Will Defend All The Peoples Of The Region; Iranian Islam Is Pure Islam – Devoid Of Arabism, Racism, Nationalism, March 9, 2015.
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5975, In ‘Great Prophet 9′ Naval Maneuvers, IRGC Practices Destroying U.S. Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier, February 25, 2015.
MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 1144, Tehran Threatens Saudi Arabia; Khamenei: Iran Will Answer Saudi Arabia ‘A Blow With A Blow’, February 10, 2015.
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5918, IRGC Weekly To Saudis: ‘Iran Has Many Options For Harming Saudi Arabia… All [It] Needs To Do Is Use A Single One Of [Them] So That Nothing Remains Of The Entity Named The Aal-Saud Regime Or Of Saudi Arabia Itself’, December 31, 2014.
 Khabar Online (Iran), March 26, 2015.
 Fars (Iran), March 26, 2015.
 Majlesnews.ir, March 26, 2015. Another member of the committee, Mohammad-Saleh Jokar, told the IRNA news agency that “the Saudi move will lead to the fall of the Saudi regime.” IRNA (Iran), March 26, 2015. Mosayeb Naimi, editor of the Arabic-language Iranian daily Al-Vefagh told the Fars news agency that “Yemen will not surrender. A massive revolution against Saudi policy in the region will awaken… This military attack will trigger popular rage among nations at Saudi Arabia.” Fars (Iran), March 26, 2015.
 Fars (Iran), March 26, 2015.
 Tasnim (Iran), March 26, 2015.