Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Hatami rejected reports that Iran may have been behind Saturday’s attacks on Saudi company Aramco’s oil processing facilities.
“It is crystal clear. A clash has occurred between two countries. One side of the clash are the Yemenis, who have announced explicitly that they have done the job,” the minister said.
He added that the logic behind the Yemeni drone strike is quite clear, because the Yemenis have been suffering from harsh military attacks by the Saudi-led coalition for years and have been in critical condition under a blockade imposed by the Saudis.
“In military terms, the Yemenis had carried out a similar operation around two years ago, and had attacked an airport in the United Arab Emirates and fired a missile with a range of 1,200 kilometers,” the Iranian general said.
The US has accused Iran of involvement in the attack, alleging that a number of cruise missiles have been fired from Iran at the Saudi targets. Iran vehemently denies the claim.
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.
Official UN figures say that more than 15,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began.
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.