Iran urges 'friendship' with Saudi Arabia amid Yemen row

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday gestured "friendship" between two major Muslim states of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Rouhani urged Saudi Arabia to cease what he called their "hostile" policies towards the Islamic republic, Press TV reported.

He said Iran supports development of regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, adding that "there is no way other than brotherhood, friendship and helping each other."

"This is a strategic mistake and miscalculation to think that Iran is not your friend, but the United States and Israel are," Rouhani said in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

"Our path in the region is to establish and promote stability; we want the geographic borders not to change, nations to decide for themselves, and bombardments and aggression against regional nations to be stopped," he said.

Rouhani further said that the Yemenis' use of their own weapons is a response to the bombardment of their cities at a large scale.

"Well, stop bombings and see whether or not the Yemeni nation responds positively. You do not allow delivery of medicine, food and UN assistance to the Yemenis," he said alluding to Saudi Arabia.

He dismissed Riyadh allegations about Iran's interference in regional countries, and said that such claims came while the Islamic Republic has been fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria upon the request of those countries.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday dismissed the accusations of Iran's direct aggression made by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as "false and dangerous."

The Saudi Crown Prince's accusations that Iran launched "direct military aggression" against the kingdom are contrary to international law and the United Nations Charter, Zarif was quoted by Press TV as saying.

Mohammed bin Salman earlier on Tuesday accused Iran of launching direct military aggression against his country, in a form of supplying missiles to the Shiite Houthi militia in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen said the dangerous escalation came after Saudi military intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile fired at Riyadh on Saturday.

Besides, Iran's Foreign Ministry on Monday dismissed the allegations by the Saudi-led coalition that Tehran was behind the missile attack on Riyadh.

The allegations are "destructive, irresponsible, provocative and baseless," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, while calling the attack as Yemenis' "independent" reaction to Saudi attacks.

Qasemi said that the Yemenis had showed an "independent" reaction to Saudi attacks, and their reaction is not rooted in another country's measures or provocations.

He said that Iran had no means of transferring missiles to Yemen, and that missiles used by Yemeni militants belonged to themselves and they had only increased their range.

He urged the Saudi officials to stop leveling "unfounded" accusations against others and carrying out attacks on innocent and defenseless Yemeni people as soon as possible.

Following a missile strike from neighboring Yemen on Saturday, Saudi Arabia ramped up threats against Iran, saying there would be a response "in the appropriate time and manner."

Saudi Arabia is leading a mostly Arab military coalition to fight Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to restore President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was ousted by Houthis in September 2014.

Houthis have been controlling much of Yemen's north by force, including the capital Sanaa since 2014.

The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, and displaced over 3 million, according to humanitarian agencies.

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