Flashpoint / Global 15 May 2020 Riyadh Share Facebook Twitter Email Print Back To Map I. Why it Matters The regional power competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia is heating up. A sense that Tehran and its allies have been steadily gaining influence across a number of countries, set against a more assertive leadership in Riyadh, is playing out as a zero-sum struggle across the Middle East. From Yemen to Lebanon, competition between the two regional powers exacerbates existing conflicts and creates new tensions in a region already engulfed in turmoil. So far, their contests have exacted a relatively low cost on their respective publics. But this could change dramatically if, for example, an Iranian-provided ballistic missile fired by the Huthis causes significant casualties in Saudi Arabia, or an Iranian separatist group bolstered by Saudi aid conducts a deadly attack in Iran, or a cyberattack were to successfully penetrate key systems in one of the states in the region. More broadly, a real or perceived threat to either country’s power centre could make its leadership feel compelled to escalate. II. Recent Developments 15 May 2020 Asked to comment on the “status of the Patriot missile battery withdrawals from Saudi Arabia”, a U.S. defence spokesperson indicated that “we have robust capabilities in theatre to address multiple threats and we have the ability to augment those resources on short notice... We have a longstanding relationship with Saudi Arabia. That is clearly not in question, whether we're moving forces in or moving them out. That's counterterrorism, that's maritime security, that's air defence and we remain committed to that”. View More 8 May 2020 President Trump spoke to King Salman, and both leaders “reaffirmed the strong U.S.-Saudi defense partnership”, according to a U.S. readout. Commenting on reports about U.S. plans to remove “two Patriot anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia along with a number of military personnel”, the U.S. Special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, stated: “it doesn’t mean that Iran is no longer a threat… Our troop levels go up and down depending on the circumstances, but the mission set is the same. Our mission is not at all changed. We’re standing with our partners and our allies in the region. We’re doing everything we can to protect American interests”. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo subsequently indicated that “those Patriot batteries had been in place for some time. Those troops needed to get back. They needed to reposition… this wasn’t either a recognition of a decreased threat [from Iran]”. “It’s not a decrease in our support to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, he added. Pompeo further noted that the Iranians “can see that we still have ample capability to continue to exercise both our maximum pressure campaign and our deterrence in the region”. View More 5 May 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that “Huthi militia launched two ballistic missiles”, both of which fell in Yemeni territory. View More 27 April 2020 After the Yemeni Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared self-rule in southern Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition called “for an immediate end to any steps contrary to the Riyadh Agreement, and work rapidly toward its implementation”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson also indicated that “Iran supports the united Yemen whose territorial integrity is protected… Such actions [of self-rule] will not only fail to help solve the current problems in Yemen, but will complicate the situation in the country”. The U.S. State Department said it was “concerned” by the STC announcement, contending that “such unilateral actions only exacerbate instability in Yemen”. View More 26 April 2020 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke with the UN Secretary-General, who, according to an Iranian readout, “welcomed the Islamic Republic of Iran’s efforts to ensure a ceasefire in Yemen and launch political talks over the Yemeni crisis”. Both officials “also emphasised the need for the reopening and security of the border and ports in Yemen to deliver humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, particularly at the time of outbreak of coronavirus”. View More 24 April 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced “a one-month extension of the ceasefire” initiated on 8 April. The statement indicated that “the chance is still there for concerted efforts to reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in Yemen, and consensus on serious, direct and tangible steps to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni brotherly people”. The Coalition also stated that “it will strongly support such fundamental steps with the UN in order to reach a just and comprehensive political solution agreed upon by all the Yemenis”. A Huthi military spokesperson subsequently reported multiple strikes by the coalition. View More 17 April 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that “the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia deliberately launched a ballistic missile to target civilians and civilian objects in Marib”, and maintained that the action “underscores the militia’s denial of all efforts and initiatives of ceasefire and de-escalation”. The coalition also asserted that it was “continuing to exercise utmost restraint in its rules of engagement, while maintaining the legitimate right to respond proportionately in self-defence, and undertaking all necessary measures to protect civilians in Yemen from the wrath of this terrorist militia”. View More 11 April 2020 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke with the UN Secretary-General discussing, inter alia, “latest developments in Yemen”. The two spoke again the following day. According to an Iranian readout, “the UN chief gave a report on the international body’s efforts to maintain the ceasefire in Yemen”, and “Zarif expressed support for the Secretary-General's efforts… stating that the Yemeni crisis has no military solution. He also called the establishment of a lasting ceasefire a prelude for the launch of political process to resolve the crisis”. View More 8 April 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced a “comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen for a period of two weeks”, effective 9 April and with a possibility of extension. A spokesperson declared that “the Coalition will seize this opportunity to unite all efforts to reach a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire in Yemen, and agree on serious, concrete and direct steps to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people and maintain their health and safety” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A Huthi military spokesperson on 9 April maintained that coalition strikes were ongoing. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the announcement and “urge[d] the Huthis to respond in kind and cooperate with the UN special envoy, who has called for urgent talks between the parties”; another senior U.S. diplomat opined that “we think this is incredibly productive, and we think it’s really problematic that the Huthis aren’t following suit”. View More 1 April 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his Saudi counterpart and “underscored that the U.S. strongly condemns the Huthis’ attempted attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia on 28 March”. According to a U.S. readout of the conversation, “Secretary Pompeo expressed support for the de-escalation efforts led by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, and the Secretary and the Foreign Minister agreed that an unstable Yemen only benefits the Iranian regime and that the regime’s destabilising behaviour there must be countered. The Secretary underscored that the U.S. would continue to support Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran’s threatening behaviour”. View More 31 March 2020 Discussing an 28 March Huthi missile attack against Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that “the damage that was done by those was very minor, but nonetheless there’d been a lot of work to reduce conflict, to take down the levels of violence that were there, and we’d had some success. The Saudis had been leading that effort, and it broke down that day”. Pompeo added that “the Saudis have now responded, and I’m hopeful they can get back on the right path. We are hopeful that we can find a path forward with the UN Security Council resolution in Yemen to find a path to peace there... Sadly, it appears that the Iranians don’t share our vision for peace in Yemen and in Saudi Arabia”. View More 30 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition confirmed that in response to a 28 March Huthi missile attack, the coalition had “conducted a military operation to neutralise and destroy ‘legitimate military targets’ of the terrorist Huthi militia in accordance with customary International Humanitarian Law to confront ongoing and imminent threats”. The statement added that “the targets that were destroyed include advanced capabilities of the terrorist militia, storage, assembly and installation sites of ballistic missiles and UAVs, locations of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) experts and weapons depots”. The coalition further posited that “the Iranian regime is concentrating all financial, man and logistic powers to support the terrorist militia to realise its ideals and expansionist ambitions on the account of the Iranian people who are suffering in this hectic time”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded by calling on “the coalition of aggressors against Yemen to take into account the realities on the ground… instead of delusions and reveries, and to recognise that playing with words, pinning blame on others and making accusations against the others will not make up for their political and military failures”. View More 28 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that “the Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia… toward Riyadh and Jizan”. Debris fell in both cities though there were no initial reports of casualties. The coalition asserted that “the launch of ballistic missiles by the terrorist Huthi militia and the IRGC at this time reflects the real threat of this terrorist militia and the Iranian regime sponsoring it…It is a continuation of Iran’s strategy of falsification and procrastination to deepen the suffering of brotherly people of Yemen, and further proof that the Huthi militia is stripped of its will and decision-making ability to end this crisis”. View More 26 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had been “able to intercept and destroy UAVs launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia toward civilian objects in Abha and Khamis Mushait”. View More 24 March 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and suggested that “Saudi Arabia has a real opportunity to rise to the occasion and reassure global energy and financial markets when the world faces serious economic uncertainty”. Pompeo also “thanked the Crown Prince for Saudi Arabia’s continued partnership in the face of the Iranian regime’s destabilising regional behaviour”. View More 17 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that it had “detected an attempt by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia to conduct an imminent hostile, terrorist act in Southern Red Sea using two R/C exploding boats launched from Hodeida governorate”. View More 10 March 2020 King Salman chaired a cabinet session which reiterated that “Iran bears direct responsibility for the outbreak of corona infection”. The cabinet further contended “that the international community must assume its responsibilities regarding the Iranian hostile practices and sponsorship of terrorist activities in the region and the world which pose a threat to the international peace and security”. View More 7 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that it had “destroyed… six remote-controlled exploding boats and naval mines assembly, rigging and launch sites” in western Yemen, adding that “these locations are used [by the Huthis] to prepare execution of hostile action and terrorist operations that threaten sea lines of communication and international trade in the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab strait”. View More 5 March 2020 After five Saudi nationals tested positive for COVID-19 following travel to Iran, a Saudi official stated that “the Kingdom denounced Iran's irresponsible action of granting Saudi citizens entry to its territories without stamping their passports, especially at a time where there is an outbreak… in Iran. These actions are a proof of Iran’s direct responsibility in increasing COVID-19 infections and in the virus’s outbreak all around the world”. The official further asserted that Saudi Arabia would consider “the Iranian authorities fully responsible for all Saudis who did not report their travels and had gotten infected during their stay in Iran”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson subsequently indicated that “electronic visa issuance rules and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran are equal for nationals of all countries… and labeling and stamping entry and exit sign is prevented according to the visa requirements of many advanced and developed countries”. He further urged “Saudi Arabia to avoid politicising coronavirus and psychological projection in this field”. View More 4 March 2020 The speaker of the Arab Parliament reportedly asserted that “the transgressions and threats of the Iranian regime require a unified Arab stance to stop them, indicating that the Arab Parliament is currently working on preparing a ‘unified Arab strategy to deal with the geographical neighbouring countries’”, Iran among them. View More 4 March 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that “an imminent terrorist attack that was aiming to target an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea… was thwarted”. The coalition’s spokesperson indicated that “the attempt was carried out using four boats and [was] attempting to bomb the oil tanker using one of the unmanned, remote-controlled exploding boats”, and further asserted that “the naval threat… has evolved into a strategic threat to international security”. View More 26 February 2020 U.S. Central Command announced that “the U.S. Navy and the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) are participating in [bilateral maritime] exercise Nautical Defender 20”. View More 25 February 2020 A Saudi court sentenced one Saudi individual to death and seven others to jail for reported charges of “spying for Iran and monitoring two foreign embassies in the Kingdom”. View More 23 February 2020 The Saudi-led coalition said that it had foiled “an attempt of an imminent hostile, terrorist attack in Southern Red [Sea] using a remote-controlled exploding boat… by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia”. The coalition also announced that it had carried out “a military operation to destroy legitimate military targets of Iran-made ballistic missile and UAV assembly, storage and launch capabilities in the capital [ie, Sanaa]”. View More 21 February 2020 During a visit to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo maintained that “the leaders in this region… appreciate America’s ability to support the deterrence posture that we have [against Iran] and they understand that if we cower, if we shrink back from the Iranian imperialism, from this theocratic revolutionary regime, that life for ordinary people, whether that’s in Jordan or in Bahrain or here in Saudi Arabia, or in the Emirates, will be worse off… They’re thankful for our presence, for our support and the work that we’re all doing as part of this coalition whether that’s in the Strait of Hormuz or in Europe or right here on the ground”. View More 20 February 2020 During a visit to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with King Salman and “discussed bilateral issues, including countering the malign influence of the Iranian regime, as well as the need for cooperation on regional conflicts such as Syria and Yemen”. According to a U.S. readout of the conversation, both leaders “agreed that a comprehensive political agreement is the only way to achieve peace, prosperity and security in Yemen”. Pompeo also met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and pledged that “the U.S. stands with Saudi Arabia in the face of… threats [from Iran], as reflected in our greater military presence in Saudi Arabia”. View More 20 February 2020 The Saudi-led coalition reported that “the Royal Saudi Air Defence intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthi militia towards Saudi cities”. The following day, a Huthi military spokesperson claimed that they had “targeted Aramco and other sensitive targets in Yanbu”, Saudi Arabia. View More 20 February 2020 Speaking alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. ambassador to country indicated that “the kingdom has done a tremendous amount to suppress Sunni Islamic extremism within their own borders, and they have been a great cooperation partner with us… Now what the next job is, at some point in history – hopefully soon – Shiite Islamic extremism led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force gets rolled back”. Discussing the aftermath of the September 2019 attack against Saudi oil facilities, he noted that the Saudis “naturally turned to us for support, and our support has been defensive. They’ve never asked for offensive support… the defensive posture is much improved not only for the U.S. but for Saudi Arabia. And so our ability to withstand something that might come from that direction is much improved, but it’s not perfect”. He further maintained that “the missiles that are being used and fired from Yemen by the Huthis are all coming from the Iranians… it’s really important for us to understand who is the aggressor in the region, and it’s no doubt it’s the Iranians”. View More 19 February 2020 Referring to weapon shipments seized by the U.S. forces in the Arabian Sea on November 2019 and February 2020, a spokesperson for the U.S. Central Command stated that “the U.S. assesses with high confidence that the weapons… were manufactured in Iran and were being illicitly smuggled to the Huthis in Yemen”. A senior U.S. defence official underscored that “the Pentagon continues to be committed to disrupting the transport of illicit weapons in the region and preventing Iran from spreading its malign influence”. The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, asserted that “Iran’s ongoing transfer of weapons to the Huthis violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions”. He added that “The international community should apply more pressure on Iran until it stops providing arms, training and funding to proxy groups in the gray zone. This includes by acting to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which, under the Iran deal, expires in October”. View More 16 February 2020 Discussing Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) proposal, President Rouhani noted that “some regional countries welcomed it well and some others have not yet given an explicit response, but we still believe that it is the regional states that must help establish peace. We stress that all countries must enjoy security and stability in the region”. On Yemen, Rouhani underlined that “the Yemeni issues must be resolved by the Yemenis themselves and the countries that are carrying out acts of aggression toward the country must stop it”. He also asserted that Iran “oppose[s] war”, while adding that “Americans are not looking for war either”. View More 15 February 2020 At the Munich Security Conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif underscored that “we have no intention of having trouble with any of our neighbours… We would run to the assistance of Saudi Arabia if anybody attacks Saudi Arabia”. Zarif added: “my message to my brothers: I’m not asking them to stop their relations with the U.S. That’s none of my business... What is our business is that the U.S. will not give you protection. Israel will not give you protection. You need to get protection from within. Security cannot be purchased”. He further accused Saudi Arabia of funding “every Iranian terrorist organisation”. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan indicated that “our message to Iran has been that once they are willing to admit that their regional behaviour is the main source of instability and that activities such as firing ballistic missiles at your neighbouring states is not contributory to security, then we can discuss the potential of talks”. View More 15 February 2020 Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan indicated that “we have a back channel [between Riyadh and the Huthis] and it’s not yet ready to move to the highest level”. “It’s making progress”, he added, maintaining that “we have seen some deterioration recently, but we are committed to moving it forward”. View More 15 February 2020 The Saudi-led coalition confirmed that the previous day a “Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado fighter jet crashed while conducting close air support to units of the National Army of Yemen”. The coalition subsequently indicated that it “holds the terrorist Huthi militia responsible for the lives and wellbeing of the [Tornado] air crew”. The following day the Huthis accused the coalition of conducting airstrikes in al-Jawf governorate in which “nearly 30 people were killed”; Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson condemned the strike. View More 13 February 2020 The U.S. contended that the UN Security Council’s Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Yemen supported “the conclusion of the U.S., France, Germany, and the United Kingdom that Iran bears responsibility” for the 14 September attack on Saudi oil facilities, arguing that since then “Iran has continued its program of terrorism, nuclear extortion and destabilising behaviour”. “The Security Council,” the statement added, “now has less than 36 weeks until the October expiration of the UN arms embargo to renew sanctions forbidding the sale of certain weapons systems to Iran”. According to the UN report, “despite claims to the contrary, the Huthi forces are unlikely to be responsible for the [September 2019] attack, as the estimated range of the weapon systems used does not allow for a launch from Huthi-controlled territory. Nevertheless, a number of other attacks on Saudi Arabia can clearly be attributed to the Houthi forces”. The Panel also reported “the continued reception by Huthi forces of military support” and indicated that “some of those weapons have technical characteristics similar to arms manufactured in the Islamic Republic of Iran”. View More 12 February 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Saudi counterpart in Washington and “discussed bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern, including the continued need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilising behaviour”. According to a U.S. readout of the conversation, Pompeo highlighted “the importance of the U.S.-Saudi partnership in confronting the Iranian regime’s threats”, and both officials “expressed their concern over the recent violence in Yemen, including Huthi cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia, and they agreed on the need to swiftly return to de-escalation”. Pompeo also voiced “U.S. support for a political solution to the conflict facilitated by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths”. View More 11 February 2020 Secretary of Defense Mark Esper remarked that “what we want to do is increase the NATO activities' presence in Iraq, making sure that we're fully living up to the capacity available to us in NATO Mission Iraq. And then, of course, to the degree that NATO can – can offset the U.S. presence, that would over time allow us to bring some forces home”. Esper further noted that “I also want to see if NATO can help us, help our friends and partners in the Middle East with air defence, as an example. So the Saudis in particular are – need additional air defence assets to deter Iranian bad behaviour. They're not the only country, but that's an example where I'd like to see greater NATO participation, or at least our NATO partners participating”. View More 5 February 2020 A senior Iranian official posited that “we have always been ready to hold talks with Saudi Arabia, but unfortunately, the leaders of this country are not in charge of making decisions for themselves… The Americans are trying to take advantage of the situation; as such, they don’t allow Saudi leaders to take independent decisions”. View More 4 February 2020 Iran’s ambassador to Iraq remarked that “Tehran welcomes Iraq’s role in seeking to resolve outstanding issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia and regional issues… the Iraqi government has played a constructive role in the region and we welcome any effort to reduce tension”. He also called on the U.S. to “stop interfering in the affairs of the region and dismantle their bases”, adding that “in the event that the U.S. commits another crime, Iran will respond to it again”. View More 3 February 2020 The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) announced the arrest of three members of an Iranian opposition group, ASMLA (Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of al-Ahwaz). The three individuals were “charged with espionage in Denmark on behalf of a Saudi intelligence service”, which according to PET took place between 2012 and 2018. A fourth person was detained in the Netherlands. View More 2 February 2020 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson reported that “the Saudi government has barred the Islamic Republic” from an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting called “to discuss the OIC's stance on the Palestinian cause” after release of the U.S. Peace to Prosperity plan. View More 31 January 2020 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded to reports of a UN panel assessing that the Huthis had obtained materiel “similar to Iran’s” by contending that “all that glitters is not gold and any similar weapon is not necessarily as an Iranian weapon”. View More 29 January 2020 During a trip to Saudi Arabia, a senior U.S. military official predicted that a military engagement involving Iran was “not going to be a ground maneuver war, it’s going to be a war of fires, it’s going to be a war of ballistic missiles, a war of unmanned aerial systems and cruise missiles… the ability of nations in the region to provide for their air defence is going to be important”. View More 29 January 2020 A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that “in response to the air escalation of the aggression, the missile force and drone air force carried out specific operations targeting Aramco in Jizan, Abha, Khamis Mushait base and sensitive targets in the Saudi rear”. View More 28 January 2020 President Trump unveiled “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People”. Prime Minister Netanyahu told Trump that the initiative “strikes the right balance where others have failed… It’s a great plan for Israel. It’s a great plan for peace”. He also praised the president as “the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House”, going on to cite, inter alia, Trump’s moves “to stand up to Iran, to pull out of that dangerous Iran deal… to eliminate Qassem Soleimani”. President Rouhani called the U.S. initiative “abhorrent to all Muslims and freedom seekers in the world”. Saudi Arabia welcomed Trump’s efforts and urged “the start of direct peace negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, under the auspices of the U.S., and to resolve any disagreements with aspects of the plan through negotiations”. View More 28 January 2020 The Saudi Foreign Minister indicated that ISIS “continue to pose a threat and it's very important that the international community continue to support the Iraqi forces to remain vigilant and the American presence is an important of that”. He described the killing by the U.S. of IRGC Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani as “legitimate self-defence” and said that Iran’s “statements [since Soleimani’s killing] aren't positive. But we will continue to call on them to behave in a way that can support regional stability”. View More 28 January 2020 In a statement, the U.S. said it was “alarmed by renewed violence in Yemen”. It went on to urge “all parties to put the needs of the Yemeni people first and immediately return to restraint”, while asserting that “the Huthis must cease attacks on Saudi territory”. View More 24 January 2020 A senior Saudi defence official contended that “the biggest threats to the region, and to international security, is basically Iran”. He further stated that “Iran has expansionist policies. They want to basically take over countries in the region. They have these destructive activities in the region that is pulling the region backward, not forward. This is the cause of friction”. He added that “the Iranian regime and its proxies on one side, and ISIS, al-Qaeda and terrorist organizations on the other side. We believe that they’re both two sides of the same coin… when it comes to us, we’re the common enemy, and they cooperate”. View More 22 January 2020 Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal expressed his government’s willingness to negotiate with Iran, adding that “it is really up to Iran”. He noted that talks would require Tehran’s acknowledgement that Iran “cannot further its regional agenda through violence”. In related remarks, a senior Saudi official called Iran “the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world” and reiterated: “pressure needs to be continued on Iran”. Asserting that “the Iranians have to show good faith… change their behaviour and their policies”, he also stated that if Iran “want to be treated as a normal country, they should act as one”. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif subsequently took to Twitter to maintain that “'normal’ countries don’t operate abattoirs disguised as consulates. ‘Normal’ countries don’t attack their neighbours, cause a humanitarian crisis and refuse to talk. Nonetheless, we don’t set preconditions for dialogue”. View More 18 January 2020 A missile strike against a Yemeni armed forces camp in Marib killed over a hundred and left dozens more injured; the Saudi government “expressed in the strongest terms… condemnation and denunciation of this sinful terrorist attack carried out by the Huthi militia”. View More 17 January 2020 French President Emmanuel Macro, announced that “in the Arabian Peninsula and Arab-Persian Gulf, where tensions are mounting, we have deployed in record time the Jaguar Task Force, which contributes to reassuring the Saudi kingdom”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson subsequently reacted by asserting that “your military presence in the Persian Gulf is as wrong as your naming it. Both mistakes are huge but compensable”. View More 17 January 2020 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif emphasised that "we are ready for negotiations with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf littoral states and we are ready to give proposals regarding security in this region, particularly the Strait of Hormuz”. View More 8 January 2020 Media reports cited a confidential UN report assessing that “Huthi forces did not launch the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais on 14 September 2019” because the missiles used in the attack did not “have a sufficient range to have been launched from Yemeni territory under the control of the Huthis”. “Abqaiq and Khurais were approached respectively from a north/northwestern and north/northeastern direction, rather than from the south, as one would expect in the case of a launch from Yemeni territory”, the report added. View More 6 January 2020 Following the killing by the U.S. of Iran’s Qods Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, the Saudi foreign minister indicated that “we are very keen that the situation in the region doesn’t escalate any further. It’s certainly a very dangerous moment and we have to be conscious of the risks and dangers not just to the region but to wider global security”. View More 2 January 2020 The head of the IRGC's Qods force, Qasem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. strike in Baghdad. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that "at the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani”, adding that "Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region". Iran confirmed Soleimani’s death, and the IRGC said that four other Qods force members along with five Iraqis, notably including a senior Hashd official, were also killed in the operation. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei subsequently asserted that "enemies should bear in mind that the Islamic Republic of Iran will take tough revenge on criminals over the martyrdom of General Soleimani". View More 2 January 2020 The Saudi-led coalition announced that “six Saudi war prisoners arrived at King Salman Airbase”. View More 31 December 2019 The Saudi Cabinet “expressed the Kingdom's condemnation and denunciation of the attacks by terrorist militias backed by the Iranian regime against the American forces present in Iraq”. View More 30 December 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman “discussed [27 December] Kataeb Hizbollah strikes on Coalition Forces in Kirkuk… as well as the U.S.’ defensive strikes [on 29 December] in Iraq and Syria”. They “agreed that the Iranian regime and its proxies continue to be a destabilising force in the region and that nations have a right to defend themselves in the face of these threats”. According to the U.S. readout of the call, Pompeo “underscored that attacks by the Iranian regime, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies or our interests will be answered with a decisive response”, and both sides “agreed to continue to work together to continue countering Iran’s malign behaviour”. View More 29 December 2019 A Huthi military spokesperson reportedly indicated that the “the armed forces of Yemen are fully prepared to strike nine strategic targets deep inside the territory of the aggressors, of which six are located in Saudi Arabia and the rest are in the United Arab Emirates”. View More 27 December 2019 A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that a “Badr-1P ballistic missile struck… a military camp for the Saudi army and its mercenaries in Najran”. View More 22 December 2019 The Saudi foreign minister and the GCC secretary general signed a GCC Unified Military Command Headquarters Agreement in Riyadh. View More 20 December 2019 Twitter announced that it had removed 5,929 accounts “for violating… platform manipulation policies”. “Rigorous investigations by our Site Integrity team have allowed us to attribute these accounts to a significant state-backed information operation on Twitter originating in Saudi Arabia”, the statement added. View More 15 December 2019 In remarks at the Doha Forum, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called for “recognition of the imperative of a regional security and cooperation arrangement under the UN umbrella”, adding that “the Hormuz Peace Endeavour – or HOPE – is a continuation of our longstanding commitment to an inclusive and comprehensive regional framework for constructive engagement”. He also noted that “like the nuclear accord, no good idea can be pursued by only one party… While everyone could have benefited from the paradigm shift that the JCPOA promised – as a foundation and not a ceiling – it cannot be expected from a single party to be forthcoming while others are pursuing an opposite path”. View More 14 December 2019 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, assessed that “because of the Iran nuclear deal we’ve been accumulating risk of a regional conflict — and what Iran did to Saudi Arabia on September 14 was an act of war”. He further noted that “modern terrorism has an asymmetric advantage over conventional deterrence… we know that because we have enhanced our force posture in the region, we’ve deterred and disrupted a lot of attacks. But the asymmetric advantage that any terrorist regime enjoys, it’s impossible to eliminate”. “We hope that we’ve put in place the sort of deterrence that will avoid another attack… we’re going to continue to enhance Saudi defences and our defences in the region to avoid it from happening again”, Hook added. View More 10 December 2019 Referring to the 14 September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the UN Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that “at this time, it [ie, the UN] is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin”, while also noting that Huthi forces “have not shown to be in possession, nor been assessed to be in possession”, of the materiel employed during the operation. View More 10 December 2019 The GCC Supreme Council issued a communique expressing “its consistent positions and decisions regarding relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, stressing the need for Iran to adhere to the basic principles based on the Charter of the United Nations and the charters of international law, principles of good-neighbourliness, respect for the sovereignty of states, non-interference in internal affairs, and resolving disputes by peaceful means, not to use force or threaten to resort to force and reject sectarianism”. The council also “expressed its welcome and support for the steps taken by the U.S. to coerce the Iranian regime to stop its destabilising policy of security and stability and its support and sponsor terrorism around the world”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson consequently asserted that “the repetition of groundless allegations in that statement results from the political pressures from a few members of the council, which have made every effort during the past couple of decades to prevent promotion of multilateral cooperation… With their short-sightedness throughout these years, not only have they allowed for the plunder of the neighbouring countries’ wealth, but they have also paved the way for further interference from aliens in this delicate region”. View More 10 December 2019 Addressing a GCC summit, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman remarked that “our region today is undergoing circumstances and challenges that call for concerted efforts to confront them, as the Iranian regime continues its hostile actions to undermine security and stability and support terrorism… [This] requires us to preserve the gains of our countries and the interests of our peoples, work with the international community to stop the interference of this regime, deal seriously with its nuclear program and the program to develop ballistic missiles and secure energy sources, safety of waterways and freedom of maritime navigation”. View More 10 December 2019 Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister was cited as asserting that “the Iranian threat is a threat to everyone… There is an understanding by the GCC countries on the importance of dealing with the threat and confronting it in the necessary ways”. He also called on Iran to “change its behaviour in attacking ships in the Gulf, supplying militias with weapons, financing terrorism and destabilising countries”. View More 10 December 2019 U.S. State Department announced that it had “designated Mohammad al-Otaibi, former Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul... for his involvement in gross violations of human rights”, adding that “the State Department continues to urge the Government of Saudi Arabia to conduct a full, fair and transparent trial for those responsible for Mr. [Jamal] Khashoggi’s death” in 2018. View More 8 December 2019 A senior Huthi official indicated that “the [Huthi] Yemeni Armed Forces has completed all aspects of construction that qualify it for a comprehensive strategic attack that cripples the enemy's capabilities… [It] has a bank of naval and ground military targets for the Zionist enemy [ie, Israel], and we will not hesitate to hit it whenever the leadership decides”. View More 8 December 2019 Iranian and Saudi Hajj officials met in Mecca and signed an agreement for the 2020 pilgrimage. View More 6 December 2019 A senior Saudi official opined that “Iran is a threat to the entire region and its aggression can no longer be tolerated”. He also underlined that “nobody is talking about a regime change in Iran. The solution is to have a negotiating table and agree on a better JCPOA, stop of interference into other countries and behaviours towards terrorism”. On Yemen, the senior official stated that “Yemen is of particular importance to us, and Iran’s intervention there is devastating. The only solution in Yemen is political, and the Huthis are the ones who started the war, not us… All Yemenis, including the Huthis, have a role in the future of Yemen”. View More 3 December 2019 Meeting with the Omani foreign minister in Tehran, President Rouhani remarked that “from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s point of view, there is no problem with expanding relations with neighbours and resuming ties with Saudi Arabia… All countries should stand beside each other to maintain security and stability in the region”. Referring to Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) proposal, Rouhani asserted that “we should maintain security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz through expanding cooperation and we should not let foreigners interfere”. View More 3 December 2019 Meeting with the Omani foreign minister in Tehran, President Rouhani contended that “unfortunately, Europe and the U.S., despite what they say, are not interested in [the] establishment of peace in Yemen because they have been able to sell a great number of weapons”. He further asserted that "we should all attempt to put an end to the war in Yemen as soon as possible and establish stability and security in the country within the framework of Yemeni-Yemeni peace talks”. View More 3 December 2019 A senior Indian official confirmed that Iran had repatriated three Indian fisherman whose Saudi-owned vessel had been detained in January 2019. View More 28 November 2019 128 Huthi prisoners freed by the Saudi-led coalition arrived in Yemen, prompting a senior Huthi official to call it “a first practical step by the Saudis that builds trust”. View More 26 November 2019 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif remarked that “we believe that through a strong neighbourhood, we will be able to achieve our individual goals much easier and much better than individually… Iran is interested in maintaining the same type of relations that it has with its ECO (Economic Cooperation Organisation) partners and extending it to our partners in the Persian Gulf region”. “All of us”, he added, “will benefit from cooperation and all of us will suffer from competition, from conflict. from instability and from insecurity”. Discussing Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) proposal, Zarif emphasised that “you cannot be secure if your neighbours are not. That is why we extended the hand of friendship that we have extended to our ECO partners to our partners in the Persian Gulf, hoping that the same type of arrangement that would lead to greater confidence in cooperation could also evolve through cooperation, through joint effort, and through joint thinking also in the Persian Gulf region”. View More 26 November 2019 The Saudi-led coalition’s spokesperson indicated that the coalition had “decided… to release 200 prisoners of the Huthi militia”. A senior Huthi official subsequently reacted by saying that “we welcome the news of the release of 200 captives by the American-Saudi-UAE coalition and its allies and we call for a halt to torture and employing coercive measures against the captives”. View More 26 November 2019 The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, visited Riyadh and met with his Saudi counterpart, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other officials. View More 26 November 2019 A Saudi cabinet session “condemned continued violations and breaches by Iran of international conventions and treaties relating to its nuclear program, welcoming… the decision of the U.S. to end the exemption of Iran's Fordow nuclear facility from sanctions, stressing the need for the international community to take a firm and similar position towards Iran's violations because of the undermining of international peace and security”. View More 23 November 2019 Discussing the 14 September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, a senior Saudi official indicated that “the results of the investigation will be revealed. What is absolutely clear is that these missiles and drones are Iranian-made, and the attack occurred from the north, not from the south. We hold Iran responsible for this. We expect the international community to take steps in order to extract the price from Iran”. He additionally posited that “the idea that perhaps engagement will cause the Iranians to change their behaviour has not worked in 40 years… The key to regional stability is deterrence”. “If Iran chooses to continue along its destructive path, sanctions should be increased, not reduced”, the official added. He also identified three principles by which Iran could, in his words, “become an accepted member of the international community”, namely: “abandon the principle of exporting the revolution, accept the sovereignty of nations and respect international law and the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries”. View More 21 November 2019 Addressing the IAEA Board of Governors, Iran’s representative maintained that “Saudi Arabia, as a country with a very non-transparent nuclear program, while is a party to the NPT and has a bilateral Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) in force with the IAEA, regrettably it still has a so- called Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) in force that exempts the country from the obligation of hosting IAEA safeguards inspections”. He went on to add that “such irresponsible behavior of Saudi Arabia is also rewarded by the Trump administration under [a] transactional and profit-centered approach to foreign policy-making, which approved the transfer of nuclear know-how to Saudi Arabia seven times”. View More 21 November 2019 Israel’s foreign minister contended that “now is the time for the world, led by the U.S., to have an effective military threat against the Iranian regime, if it will continue its nuclear program”. He added that “we will strike at whomever threatens us… That is what we have always done, and what we will continue to do in the future”. Commenting on the U.S. maximum pressure policy, the foreign minister indicated that “we see the demonstrations in Iraq, Lebanon and also in Iran, and it is clear that the pressure is working… the public in the Arab states and in Iran itself are rising against Iran’s brutal oppression”. He further underscored that “we have no conflict with the Gulf states, and we have common interests in the field of security against the Iranian threat”. View More 20 November 2019 King Salman revealed that “the Kingdom was subject to attacks, in which 286 ballistic missiles and 289 drones were used”. He added that “the [September 2019] sabotage attacks on our oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, in which Iranian weapons were used, showed the level of frustration reached by the Iranian regime, uniting the world in the face of this criminal aggression”. View More 19 November 2019 President Trump informed congressional leaders that “to assure our partners, deter further Iranian provocative behaviour and bolster regional defensive capabilities, additional U.S. Armed Forces have been ordered to deploy to the Middle East”. He further explained that “additional forces ordered to deploy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia include radar and missile systems to improve defences against air and missile threats in the region, an air expeditionary wing to support the operation of U.S. fighter aircraft from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and two fighter squadrons”. “With these additional forces”, Trump added, “the total number of U.S. Armed Forces personnel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be approximately 3,000”. View More 18 November 2019 The Huthis detained, and subsequently released, three vessels. Two of the ships were South Korean; the other was a Saudi tug. View More 16 November 2019 During a visit to the UAE, a senior U.S. military official asserted that “here in the Gulf we face a common adversary [ie, Iran] that seems committed to malign behaviour across the region”, adding that “the reaction time for an Iranian ballistic missile attack to the northern most point in the Arabian Gulf is single digit minutes. And no one country has everything you need to defend itself”. The official went on to contend that “when a missile or a UAV is in route from Iran, can we agree that is not the time to start reconciling past grievances. That time is now, today… together have exactly what we need for collective defence”. View More 15 November 2019 The U.S. co-chaired a meeting of the Warsaw Process Working Group on Missile Proliferation in Romania. The group discussed “dangerous trends associated with the proliferation of missile-related goods and technologies in the Middle East and resulting contribution to regional instability”. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE were listed as having “contributed to the working group summary statement”. View More 14 November 2019 Iranian President Rouhani claimed that “[a] strategic mistake in the world of Islam occurs when some consider Israel as their friend. It is very unfortunate that some Islamic countries that have to stand up for the interests of the world of Islam and their nation extended the hand of friendship towards the Zionist regime and even use its intelligence against the Muslim nations and the resistance movement”. “The problem is within us and we must reform within; we must solve the problems that they have created for us within the Muslim world”, Rouhani added, further asserting that “Israel and the U.S. are not anybody’s fiends but we are friends of the people of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and the people of the region”. View More 14 November 2019 Iran’s army chief maintained that “we need an interregional security and not false coalitions. It is time to drive foreign forces out of the region”. “The security in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf region can only be achieved through cooperation of the Persian Gulf littoral states… developments in recent years have shown that foreign powers cannot be reliable for regional countries”, he added. View More 13 November 2019 The U.S. Department of State announced that “the U.S. hosted a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) General Conference”, attended by senior officials from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other members of the alliance. According to the statement, “the conference included discussions on the situation in Syria, air defense in the Arabian Peninsula, and a summary of recent multilateral collaboration, including the development of a MESA Counterterrorism Strategy and the formation of the MESA political framework”. View More 13 November 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted with respect to Iran that “we’ve denied them resources. We’ve been very effective at that. There’s still an awful lot of work to do. And we have, at the same time, tried to ensure that there was adequate level of deterrence, and we’ve seen that Iran is determined to inflict harm not only on its neighbours, but the world by taking down… five-plus per cent of world’s energy supply”. Pompeo added that “President Trump understands that the driver of instability in the Middle East is, in fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran…the U.S. and Israel are working together along with our friends in the Gulf, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, the Bahrainis and others to try our best to ensure that there’s adequate levels of deterrence [against Iran] and make sure that the Iranian leadership knows that we will not tolerate their continued creation of instability in the region”. View More 13 November 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson emphasised that “the Islamic Republic has always highlighted the importance of dialogue and political talks as the only way to solve problems in the region and will use all its power to create atmosphere for talks among the regional countries”. He added that “Iran hopes that the regional countries would accept the Hormuz Peace Endeavour and start comprehensive regional talks to root out division and take practical steps in line with settling crises”. View More 12 November 2019 President Rouhani assessed that “it was because of the pressure from the Zionist regime [ie, Israel] and the Saudi money, as they themselves said, that Trump was forced to withdraw from the [nuclear] deal… This indicates the importance of the JCPOA and that they saw it so dangerous for their own purposes”. Rouhani added that “Iran did not withdraw from the deal and waited a year and gave the other sides several opportunities, and today no one in the world can blame Iran for reducing its commitments”. “The path we have chosen”, he continued, “is resistance, steadfastness and reducing our JCPOA commitments alongside negotiating with the world… we have not abandoned the option of negotiation and we have not relied solely on it. We have agreed on the principles in the negotiation process now, but we have disagreements on how they should be implemented”. View More 10 November 2019 The head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) determined that “with regard to the Persian Gulf littoral states, which have adopted a new approach to the use of nuclear technology, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for scientific cooperation and transfer of experiences”. View More 9 November 2019 Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, asserted that “in keeping with Iran’s foreign policy that posits our neighbours should always come first, regional cooperation remains a priority”. “We hope this cooperation can be welcomed by neighbours to our south, too”, he added. View More 5 November 2019 Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the secessionist Southern Transitional Council signed the Riyadh Agreement. The U.S. hailed the accord, stating that “we are hopeful that with this agreement, the parties will work together to end the conflict and to achieve the peace and stability that Yemen’s people deserve”; Secretary of State Pompeo thanked Saudi Arabia for its role and in a meeting with a senior Saudi official also talked about “the need to continue countering the Iranian regime’s destabilising behaviour”. Referring to the Riyadh Agreement, Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson contended that “signing such documents will by no means help settle the problems or Yemen, and it will contribute to stabilisation of occupation of southern Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its allies, directly or through their proxy forces”. He added that “the next step is holding Yemeni-Yemeni talks”. View More 5 November 2019 A senior Kuwaiti diplomat confirmed that his government had relayed Iranian messages on regional developments to Riyadh and Manama, though “until now no answers have emerged”. View More 4 November 2019 Iran’s government spokesperson confirmed that “[President] Rouhani has sent letters to the Saudi king on peace in the region… the theme of the letters has been regional peace and stability”. He went on to indicate that “we believe that multiple bilateral ties could be shaped in the region, and the U.S. pressures should not cause a distance between the neighbours”. View More 1 November 2019 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, emphasised that “[Iran] would like to turn the Huthis into their proxy right on Saudi’s southern border so that they’re able to attack at will through the Houthis, Saudi Arabia, Israel, UAE”. Referring to the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities, Hook stated that “it was a mistake for the Huthis [to claim credit]. I think they recognised it. They were embarrassed by it. They were surprised by it. So we’ll use this opening to press our advantage. And that’s why I think we’re seeing some positive developments in Yemen”. View More 1 November 2019 A Huthi military spokesperson claimed that the Huthis had shot down a U.S. drone in Asir province. View More 31 October 2019 A Iranian official revealed that “thanks to the negotiations by the Iranian foreign ministry with Saudi officials,  fishermen [detained by Saudi Arabia]… are on their way back home”. View More 30 October 2019 The U.S., Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and four other members of the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center (TFTC) announced sanctions designations against “25 targets affiliated with the Iranian regime’s terror-support networks in the region”. According to the Treasury Department, the designation was “focussed on entities supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s regional proxy, Hizbollah”. Secretary Mnuchin commented that “this action demonstrates the unified position of the Gulf nations and the U.S. that Iran will not be allowed to escalate its malign activity in the region”. View More 24 October 2019 A senior Saudi official reiterated that “we think that appeasement doesn’t work [with Iran]. Actions count, not words. Members of the Iranian government talk, but have no power. Those who have, like the Revolutionary Guards, don’t want to negotiate”. “As far as we’re concerned”, he added, “maximum pressure is the only way”. View More 22 October 2019 In an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia, U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper met with King Salman and the Saudi deputy defence minister. During the visit, responding to a question on the deployment of additional U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia, Secretary Esper told reporters that “there are three tasks here: first, help the Saudis defend themselves against Iran; secondly, deter Iranian bad behaviour; and third, hold up the international rules-based order”. He further added that “the fact that the Saudis are going to underwrite that is something that we expect of all of our partners and allies, whether it's Asia or Europe, is to help share the cost, share the burden of either housing, hosting our troops on their land or supporting them in deployments, whatever the case may be”. On Syria, responding to a question on the future of the U.S. forces withdrawn from Syria to Iraq, Secretary Esper stated that “eventually, their destination is home.” View More 21 October 2019 In remarks to the meeting at the Security and Defence Conference of GCC chiefs of staff and other countries including the U.S., Germany and France, a senior Saudi military official maintained that “today’s meeting aims to find appropriate ways for joint military cooperation to ensure the protection of vital and sensitive facilities, as the region continues to suffer from ongoing crises since the time the regime came to power following (1979) revolution in Iran, which aims to export the revolution to other countries, in contradiction with international conventions and treaties”. He further accused Iran of “spreading chaos by using religious sectarianism to serve political objectives, adopting and supporting loyal armed groups and forming parties and militias that contribute to destabilizing security and stability in several countries in the region”. View More 21 October 2019 A senior Saudi official indicated that Saudi Arabia is “convinced through evidence it has that Iran is involved in the Aramco attacks” and “the missiles that had hit the Saudi oil facilities were Iranian”. View More 17 October 2019 A senior U.S. diplomat met with the President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and other officials in the international recognised government of Yemen in Riyadh. The U.S. official “reaffirmed U.S. support for the unity of Yemen” and “stressed that a political solution is the only path to a peaceful, prosperous, stable and unified Yemen”. View More 16 October 2019 In Riyadh, a senior State Department official met with senior Saudi officials and highlighted the “shared commitment to work with regional partners to counter Iran’s malign influence, and promote security and stability throughout the region”. View More 14 October 2019 President Rouhani contended that “what happened in the Red Sea when our tanker was targeted [on 11 October] has caused problems that hopefully our investigations will soon reach a conclusion. What is certain is that a regime has done this with the help of some countries, how and when is not clear yet and we are finalising the investigations”. View More 14 October 2019 President Rouhani stated that “we have no problem with the resolution of regional problems with regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, through dialogue”, further noting that “relations between Tehran and the UAE have been better in recent months, and the trend is towards better relations”. View More 12 October 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson asserted that Iran “is always ready, with or without a mediator, to hold talks with its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, so that if there is any misunderstanding, it could be cleared”. View More 11 October 2019 The Pentagon announced “the deployment of additional U.S. forces and …two fighter squadrons, one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), two Patriot batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD)” to Saudi Arabia, noting that “taken together with other deployments this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorised within the last month”. Secretary of Defense Esper stated that “Saudi Arabia has asked for additional support to supplement their own defences and defend the international rules-based order”, adding that “we thought it was important to continue to deploy forces to deter and defend, and to send the message to the Iranians: do not strike another sovereign state, do not threaten American interests, American forces, or we will respond… do not mistake our restraint for weakness. If you will, you will regret that”. Secretary of State Pompeo also noted that “the Iranian regime must fundamentally change its behaviour and act like a normal nation. Or it can watch its economy collapse”. Commenting on the deployments, President Trump indicated that “Saudi Arabia, at my request, has agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing”. View More 11 October 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson confirmed that an “Iranian tanker has sustained damages after being targeted twice, at half-hourly intervals, from a place near its shipping route in the east of the Red Sea” on 10 October. He also indicated that “over the past few months, other acts of sabotage have been launched against Iranian oil tankers in the Red Sea”. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani asserted that “piracy and evil deeds in international waterways, which are carried out with the aim of making commercial ships’ sailing insecure, will not go unanswered”. A senior Saudi official on 13 October disavowed any involvement, stating that “we did not engage in such behaviour at all. This is not how we operate… the story is still not complete. So let’s wait and find out what happened before we jump to conclusions”. View More 9 October 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman spoke about “the importance of bilateral cooperation to confront the Iranian regime’s continued destabilising activities in the region”, with Pompeo affirming “that Saudi Arabia has every right to defend itself and its borders”. View More 9 October 2019 Referring to 14 September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, Saudi Aramco's Chief Executive contended that “an absence of international resolve to take concrete action may embolden the attackers and indeed put the world's energy security at greater risk View More 8 October 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated that “in a situation where the Saudis would like to negotiate with Iran, if they pursue regional issues at the negotiating table and not by killing people, they will certainly have the Islamic Republic along with them”. View More 6 October 2019 Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz announced that “recently I have been promoting, with the backing of the prime minister, a diplomatic initiative to sign ‘non-aggression agreements’ with the Arab Gulf states… it’s a historic move that will end the conflict and enable civilian cooperation until the signing of peace agreements”. View More 4 October 2019 A senior U.S. military official assessed with respect to the Iranians that “I don’t believe that they’re drawing back at all” since the 14 September attack against Saudi energy facilities, which he asserted was carried out to “send a signal and harass and provoke”. Referring to U.S.-led maritime security operations, the official indicated that “what [Operation] Sentinel seeks to do is shine a flashlight across that and make sure that if anything happens in the maritime, they will be exposed for that activity… we’ve created essentially a zone defence”. View More 4 October 2019 The Saudi-led coalition reported that two Huthi ballistic missiles landed inside Yemeni territory. View More 3 October 2019 Senior Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) military officials met in Riyadh, and in a joint statement “affirmed the readiness of the armed forces of all GCC countries to confront and deal with any threats or terrorist attacks”. They further “condemned the attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s oil tankers and the threat of free navigation, confirming their support for the efforts of the Kingdom and the GCC countries in confronting any threat or aggression against them”. View More 2 October 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated that "we have always said that we seek understanding with our neighbours. We are not seeking tension. If the Saudi government arrives at the conclusion that it can't achieve security by buying weapons and relinquishing its sovereignty to others in the process, it will be surely welcomed with open arms by Iran". View More 1 October 2019 Iran's military chief of staff indicated that Iran was providing the Huthis "advisory and intellectual assistance and the IRGC is in charge of this". He also asserted that "we will stand by the Yemeni people until they completely ward off the aggressions". View More 30 September 2019 An Iranian official indicated that the Saudis “have sent messages to Mr. Rouhani through a head of state… we must see signs of it [goodwill] without any ambiguity, and the first sign of it is to stop the aggression against Yemen and put an end to the massacre of Yemenis”. He added that “if they genuinely sought to change their behaviour, we would welcome that”. A senior Saudi official subsequently indicated that "the Kingdom did not and will not talk with the Iranians. Yemen is the affair of the Yemenis... and the reason behind the Yemeni crisis is the Iranian destabilising role of its stability and disruptive role in the political efforts". He also contended that Iran "provides its followers with weapons and missiles targeting the sons of Yemen and the security of the Kingdom and the countries of the region as part of the approach of this expansionist regime seeking to impose its control on Arab countries through its militias". He additionally advised Iran to "stop your support for terrorism, policies of chaos and destruction, interference in the internal affairs of Arab states, development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile program. Act like a normal state and not a rogue one supporting terrorism". View More 30 September 2019 Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi stated that “nobody possesses the weapons necessary to deal their adversary a fatal blow. Chaos and destruction will hit the region in its entirety”. He went on to say that “everybody is open to dialogue. Iran says [it is] willing to negotiate if sanctions are lifted; the U.S. [also] asks for dialogue ... neither does Saudi Arabia close the door for dialogue”. He also indicated that “there are many countries, and Iraq is one of them, that can offer a solution or a place for a solution to be found”. View More 30 September 2019 Following Huthi claims of capturing “thousands” of troops from the Saudi-led coalition in an operation in Najran, the coalition’s spokesperson asserted that “it is definitely fabricated. They are making up events and trying to influence the popular opinion in Yemen, the region and the world”. View More 30 September 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson announced that “Iran welcomes the Yemeni National Salvation Government’s proposal and considers it to be in favour of the establishment of stability and security in the region”. He went on to say that “sadly, Saudi Arabia is still seeking to fan the flames and continues to bombard different parts of Yemen” and called on “the Saudi government to accept this offer”. View More 29 September 2019 A senior U.S. naval official was in Riyadh for discussions with Saudi counterparts on "our mutual efforts going forward to coordinate defence against provocation and attack". View More 29 September 2019 A senior IRGC official asserted that “Yemen’s deterrent power in the face of enemies has become clear after the reactions to Al Saud’s attacks, and the enemies are also mindful that they will be harmed if they take any action against that country”. View More 28 September 2019 In his address to the UN General Assembly, Bahrain’s foreign minister remarked that “the adoption of the Iranian regime of transitional terrorism has created networks of terrorist organisations and extremist militias, located in many places and different parts of the world such as Syria, Yemen, North Africa, the countries of the Sahara and the Sahel, South America and others. This requires us to intensify our efforts and enhance collective cooperation in order to eliminate them and prevent their return in any form”. He also applauded “the decisive course taken by the friendly U.S. in confronting Iran and its affiliates in the region, through exerting maximum pressure and imposing strict sanctions”. He went on to assert that “global energy supplies and maritime navigation in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the region as a whole are severely threatened by the behaviour of the Iranian regime and its frequent targeting of commercial vessels in the region”, adding condemnation of the 14 September attacks on Saudi energy facilities “which Iran bears responsibility for”. View More 26 September 2019 The Pentagon announced the deployment of “one Patriot battery, four Sentinel radars [and] approximately 200 support personnel” to Saudi Arabia to “augment the kingdom's air and missile defence of critical military and civilian infrastructure”. The department’s spokesperson commented that “other countries have called out Iranian misadventures in the region, and we look for them to contribute assets in an international effort to reinforce Saudi Arabia’s defence”. View More 26 September 2019 Referring to the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo argued that Iran “took an act clearly, highly attributable. They had to know that the world would determine that it was them that conducted this strike. They didn’t use their usual method of trying to obscure this through use of a proxy force”. He added that “they had to know it was the case that the world would rally against them, and yet they still chose to do it”. View More 26 September 2019 President Rouhani remarked that “the Yemeni people have a right to self-defence and they have to defend themselves, and the whole world knows that the Yemeni forces and the Yemeni army have both long-range missiles and drones”. Rouhani went on to “urge the U.S., France, Britain and Germany, who are constantly giving arms to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to kill the Yemeni people, to stop sending weapons and to pressurise Saudi Arabia and the UAE for peace”. View More 25 September 2019 IRGC Commander Hossein Salami argued that “our power is such that when a group like Ansar Allah carries out an operation, the enemy thinks it has been done by us”. He added that the Huthis were “a mutated branch of the revolution…They are an accumulated source of power that, if released, will change the whole battlefield and the enemy knows this reality”. View More 24 September 2019 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman argued that the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities “didn’t hit the heart of the Saudi energy industry, but rather the heart of the global energy industry”, adding that the Iranians carried out the operation because of “stupidity. There is no strategic goal… the only strategic goal is to prove that they are stupid and that is what they did”. Bin Salman also stated that “if the world does not take a strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests. Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven't seen in our lifetimes”. Bin Salman also posited that a “political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one”, while asserting that “it is the Iranians who don’t want to sit at the table” with President Trump. On Yemen, Bin Salman stated that “if Iran stops its support of the Huthi militia, the political solution will be much easier”. View More 24 September 2019 A senior Saudi official contended that “we are certain it [the 14 September attack on Saudi energy facilities] came from the north. Once the investigation is complete, we will make the announcements and we will pin the blame. But we believe Iran is responsible because these were Iranian weapons”. He went on to say that “our position is we have to be firm with Iran. We have to come up with options on how we increase the pressure on the Iranians. You have a whole list of potential options: diplomatic, economic and military”. The official added that “the Iranians are warmongering, not us. The Iranians are the ones who launched 260 ballistic missiles on Saudi Arabia and more than 150 drones. We did not launch any ballistic missiles, any drones. We did not plant any terrorist cells in Iran and we didn’t even fire one bullet in the direction of Iran… so we’re on the receiving end”. View More 24 September 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted three Huthi missiles inside the Yemeni airspace. View More 24 September 2019 Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers reiterated that “the international community has a great responsibility to put an end to Iranian acts of aggression and sabotage policies, pointing out that the [14 September] sabotage attack on the oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, and the use of Iranian weapons in it is a threat to international peace and security and an unjustified aggression on energy supplies to world markets”. View More 24 September 2019 Referring to the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that “very simply: Iran did it. A to Z”. He added that “Israel will know to defend itself against this type of aggression. And we call on all members of the international community to join President Trump's effort to increase the pressure on Iran. That's the only way to stop Iran's aggression”. View More 23 September 2019 In a statement, France, Germany, and the UK jointly “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14th, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais”. They further declared that “it is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details”. The E3 also urged Iran “to reverse its decisions to reduce compliance with the deal and to adhere fully to its commitments under it”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded that the “E3's paralysis in fulfilling their obligations without U.S. permission has been clear since May 2018”. He added that the “solution to this deficiency is mustering will to forge an independent path—not parroting absurd U.S. claims and requests inconsistent with the JCPOA”. Zarif went on to posit that there would be “no new deal before compliance with the current one”. In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry contended that “attributing the responsibility to the third government for an attack carried out in the course of a full-scale war between the Saudi and Yemeni sides is per se a provocative and extremely destructive move”. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo responded by saying that “the U.S. thanks our close friends, UK, France, and Germany, for their clear articulation of Iran’s sole responsibility for the act of war against Saudi Arabia and its impact on the region and the world… this will strengthen diplomacy and the cause of peace”. View More 22 September 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif described the U.S. decision to bolster its forces in Saudi Arabia as “posturing”, and added that he was “confident that Iran did not play a role” in the 14 September attacks against Saudi energy facilities. Zarif also noted in passing that “the Israelis are attacking parts of [the] Iraqi military”. He went on to state that “we’re ready to talk [with President Trump]… we need to talk about something that is permanent. That would last”. Zarif additionally warned that “I’m not confident that we can avoid a war… I’m confident that we will not start one but I’m confident that whoever starts one will not be the one who finishes it”. View More 22 September 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo asserted that the 14 September attack against Saudi energy facilities “was an attack by Iran on the world. This was an act of war”. He went on state that “apparently, the Iranians are bloodthirsty and looking for war. President Trump and I, we’re looking for a diplomatic resolution to this… but make no mistake about it: we’re prepared to do the things we need to do to try to deter Iran from this kind of behaviour”. Pompeo added that sanctions “will deny them the resources to foment the exact kind of strikes that we have seen over this past summer”, and also contended that the Iranian people “will demand that their leadership behave in a way that reflects the great history of this place”. View More 21 September 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif argued that “since the Saudi regime has blamed Iran – baseless as that is – for the [14 September] attacks on its oil facilities, curious that they retaliated against Hodeida in Yemen today—breaking a UN ceasefire. It is clear that even the Saudis themselves don't believe the fiction of Iranian involvement”. View More 20 September 2019 U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper asserted that “in recent months, Iran has increased its military activity through direct attacks and support to its proxies in the region”, adding that “all indications are that Iran was responsible for the attack” against Saudi energy facilities on 14 September. Esper announced that “in response to the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia’s] request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focussed on air and missile defence. We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves”. View More 20 September 2019 Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah remarked that “Saudi Arabia is highly advised to stop the war on Yemen instead of seeking to purchase advanced air defence missile systems. All costly weapons purchased [from] the U.S. cannot protect you from [Huthi] drone attacks”. Nasrallah added that “a military aggression on Iran will never be to the benefit of Saudi Arabia and the UAE”. View More 19 September 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned that a clash between Iran and the U.S. or Saudi Arabia would result in “all-out war”. Zarif added that “we don’t want war, we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation… but we won’t blink to defend our territory”. View More 19 September 2019 The Saudi-led coalition said it had foiled “an attempt by Iran-affiliated Huthi terrorist militias to carry out an imminent hostile and terrorist act in the south of [the] Red Sea by using a remote-controlled booby-trapped boat”. View More 19 September 2019 On a trip Saudi Arabia and the UAE following the 14 September attack on Saudi energy facilities, Secretary of State Pompeo declared that “it’s abundantly clear and there is an enormous consensus in the region that we know precisely who conducted these attacks. It was Iran. I didn’t hear anybody in the region who doubted that for a single moment”. He also indicated that “we’re here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution to this”, adding that “there will be more sanctions. We have set about a course of action to deny Iran the capacity and the wealth… to prevent them from conducting their terror campaigns. And you can see from the events of last week there’s still more work to do”. View More 18 September 2019 Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) members convened in Washington and “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms the attack on the Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on September 14 which sought to disrupt oil markets and regional stability”. View More 18 September 2019 The Saudi-led coalition’s spokesperson announced that the 14 September attack on Saudi oil facilities “was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran. We are working to know the exact launch point”. He added that the attack “did not originate from Yemen despite Iran's best efforts to make it appear so”. View More 18 September 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo remarked that the 14 September attack on Saudi energy facilities “didn’t come from the Huthis…This was an Iranian attack. It’s not the case that you can subcontract out the devastation of five per cent of the world’s global energy supply and think that you can absolve yourself of responsibilities”. Pompeo also indicated that “we are working to build out a coalition to develop a plan to deter” Iran. He went on to assert that “some suggest that the President’s strategy that we allowed isn’t working. I would argue just the converse of that. I would argue that what you are seeing here is a direct result of us reversing the enormous failure of the JCPOA”. Pompeo added that “55 weeks from now, the whole world can sell exactly these missile systems, conventional missile systems to the Iranian government unencumbered by any sanctions… they’d have more complex ones but for the sanctions we put in place”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif seized on Pompeo’s characterisation of the 14 September attack as an “act of war” to posit “’act of war’ or agitation for war? Remnants of the B-Team (and ambitious allies) try to deceive President Trump into war”. Zarif also suggested “seizing [the] opportunity to end disaster in Yemen – not widening it”. View More 18 September 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed “the unprecedented attacks against Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure” on 14 September. Pompeo stated that “the U.S. stands with Saudi Arabia and supports its right to defend itself. The Iranian regime’s threatening behaviour will not be tolerated”. View More 18 September 2019 President Rouhani suggested that “the Yemeni nation was not the source of the conflict but it was Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Americans, some European countries and the Zionist regime [i.e. Israel] that began the war and destroyed Yemen”. He also contended, referring to the 14 September attack against Saudi energy facilities, that “the Yemenis did not target a school, hospital or market, but they attacked an industrial centre to warn their enemies”. “Iran”, Rouhani added, “has never started to cut ties and disrupt relations, and if even those who have cut ties step forward, we would like to have good relations with all the nations of the region and with our neighbours”. In related remarks, Defence Minister Amir Hatami stated that “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”. View More 17 September 2019 Saudi Arabia signed on the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct. View More 17 September 2019 Vice President Pence asserted that following the 14 September “unprovoked attack on several oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, I promise you: We’re ready… we’re locked and loaded. And we’re ready to defend our interests and our allies in the region”. Pence added that “our maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime is working. But know this: if Iran conducted this latest attack to pressure President Trump to back off, they will fail. America is ready to defend our interests”. View More 17 September 2019 Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif argued that the “U.S. is in denial if it thinks that Yemeni victims of 4.5 years of the worst war crimes wouldn't do all to strike back. Perhaps it's embarrassed that $100s of billions of its arms didn't intercept Yemeni fire”. He added that “blaming Iran won't change that. Ending the war is the only solution for all”. Zarif further stated that “the U.S. isn’t upset when its allies mercilessly bomb babies in Yemen for over four years—with its arms and its military assistance. But it is terribly upset when the victims react the only way they can—against the aggressor's oil refineries”. View More 16 September 2019 Asked about Iran’s possible involvement in 14 September attacks on Saudi oil facilities, U.S. President Trump replied that “we’re having some very strong studies done, but it’s certainly looking that way at this moment… we have a lot of options, but I’m not looking at options right now. We want to find definitively who did this”. He also asserted that “the Saudis want very much for us to protect them, but I say, well, we have to work. That was an attack on Saudi Arabia, and that wasn’t an attack on us. But we would certainly help them”. The Iranians, Trump indicated, “want to meet”, adding that “the sanctions are not going to be taken off”. View More 16 September 2019 In a statement on the 14 September attacks against Aramco facilities, the Saudi government said that “initial investigations have indicated that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian weapons”, adding that “investigations are still ongoing to determine the source of the attack”. View More 16 September 2019 In a statement on the 14 September attacks against Aramco facilities, the Saudi government said that “initial investigations have indicated that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian weapons”, adding that “investigations are still ongoing to determine the source of the attack”. View More 16 September 2019 Commenting on the 14 September attack against Saudi energy facilities, President Rouhani stated that “this problem has its roots in the Yemeni invasion. We must ask those who invaded Yemen and are bombing it daily why they did it… they have destroyed Yemen and killed a large number of Yemenis, and the Yemeni people have to respond to this [sic] many acts of aggression and guns coming from the U.S. and Europe to Saudi Arabia and the UAE". View More 15 September 2019 President Trump asserted that “Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” In a subsequent tweet, Trump maintained that “the Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions’. That is an incorrect statement (as usual!)” View More 14 September 2019 The Saudi government confirmed that “several explosions occurred as a result of terrorist attacks in Saudi Aramco plants in Khurais and Abqaiq… according to preliminary estimates, these explosions led to the interruption of a quantity of crude oil supplies estimated at 5.7 million barrels, or about 50 per cent of the company’s production”. The Huthis took responsibility for the operation, which they claimed was carried out using “tens of drones”. President Trump subsequently spoke to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and, according to a Saudi readout of the conversation, “reasserted his country’s readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom, by all means conducive to maintain its security and stability”. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo stated that “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen”. He further called on “all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The U.S. will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded saying that “having failed at ‘maximum pressure’, Secretary Pompeo is turning to ‘max deceit’”. View More 11 September 2019 The Arab Quartet Ministerial Committee for Follow-up of the Crisis with Iran and Response to its Interventions in Arab Internal Affairs, chaired by the UAE and including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the Secretary-General of the Arab League, “condemned Iran's continued support for terrorist and subversive acts in the Arab countries, including the continued firing of Iranian-made ballistic missiles from Yemeni territory into populated cities in the Kingdom”. It also denounced remarks by Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s as “intended to provoke sedition and incite hatred; and which is an extension of the dangerous role of this terrorist party, which is considered as one of the arms of Iran aiming to destabilise the security and stability in the region”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded that “the rehash of groundless accusations against [Iran’s] eternal ownership of its three islands in the Persian Gulf and the blame game by some Arab countries whose regional policies have failed are… the reason behind their failure to understand the realities of the region and the world”. He went on to say that “it is regrettable that some, instead of relying on the power of Persian Gulf states, make divergent, unfounded and undocumented allegations about the security of the region and welcome foreigners with their desperation”. View More 11 September 2019 Saudi Arabia downed a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Najran. View More 10 September 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Saudi Arabi. View More 9 September 2019 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, argued that “Iran is using Yemen to increase its status as a regional power… Iran has provided the Huthis with hundreds of millions of dollars and an arsenal of advanced weaponry”. “Iran’s strategic alliance with the Huthis”, Hook wrote, “allows them to target Gulf nations at will with missile and UAV attacks, and to inspire, organise, and direct militant separatist groups in Saudi Arabia’s provinces”. He also posited that Iran’s “alliance with the Huthis now allows Iran to threaten ship traffic in the Bab al-Mandab strait”, and indicated that “newly declassified information shows that Hizbollah is actively supporting the Huthi cause in Yemen, bringing Iran’s proxy network full circle”. Hook went on to underscore that “the Trump administration is focused on reversing Iran’s strategic gains in the region as part of the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign”, and contended that “the Huthis have little gain and a lot to lose by continuing their partnership with Iran”. View More 6 September 2019 Saudi Arabia downed a Huthi ballistic missile reportedly bound for Najran. View More 5 September 2019 Saudi Arabia downed a ballistic missile reportedly bound for Najran, and intercepted a Huthi drone it said was bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 3 September 2019 Saudi Arabia downed a trio of ballistic missiles in Najran and intercepted two Huthi drones, one of which was reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 29 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Saudi Arabi. View More 28 August 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo met with Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman and “reiterated U.S. support for a negotiated resolution between the Republic of Yemen government and the Southern Transitional Council”. They additionally discussed “the need for stronger maritime security in order to promote freedom of navigation [and] the Iranian regime’s destabilising activities in the region”. View More 27 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted two Huthi drones, one inside Yemeni airspace and the second reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. The coalition also asserted that a ballistic missile fired by the Huthis had landed within Yemen. View More 26 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Saudi Arabi. View More 26 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted two Huthi drones inside Yemeni airspace. View More 25 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted six ballistic missiles purportedly bound for Jizan. View More 25 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 24 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted Huthi drones reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait and Jizan. View More 22 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted two Huthi drones reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 17 August 2019 A senior Saudi official confirmed that “a processing unit of Shaybah’s natural gas plant was targeted by explosive-laden [Huthi] drones, resulting in a limited fire”. View More 16 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone inside Yemeni airspace. View More 11 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Saudi Arabia. View More 11 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 8 August 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo spoke by phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed “maritime security, Yemen, countering the Iranian regime’s destabilising activity and human rights”. View More 8 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Jizan. View More 8 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Abha. View More 5 August 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted two Huthi drones reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 1 August 2019 Reacting to a Huthi attack on a military parade in Aden, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen stated that “the synchronised targeting by the terrorist Iran-backed Huthis and its terrorist sister groups ISIS and AQAP of the security and stability of the interim capital Aden proves their unity of objective: bloodshed and non-recognition of State, laws and inviolability of man”. View More 31 July 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated that “we have always expressed our interest in communication with neighboring states. But it’s only possible when they give up interference in domestic affairs of other countries”. He added that “if Saudi Arabia is ready for talks, we are ready as well. We have never closed the door of negotiation with our neighbors and won’t do so”. View More 25 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 23 July 2019 Referring to the recent incidents, Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers stated that “any infringement on the freedom of international maritime navigation is considered a violation of the international law, and the international community must take the necessary action to reject and deter it”. View More 23 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition reportedly intercepted multiple Huthi drones bound for Asir. View More 22 July 2019 Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, stated that “any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law. Iran must realize that its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable”. He further asserted that “the world community must take actions to deter such behaviour”. View More 21 July 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson announced that “Iran appreciates efforts by the authorities of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Oman to secure the safe return of Iran’s Happiness 1 oil tanker”. View More 20 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Abha. View More 19 July 2019 U.S. Central Command announced and Saudi Arabia confirmed that “in coordination with and at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Secretary of Defense has authorized the movement of U.S. personnel and resources to deploy to Saudi Arabia”. View More 17 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Jizan. View More 16 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted three Huthi drones reportedly bound for Jizan and Abha. View More 15 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait and downed another inside Yemen’s airspace. View More 8 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Saudi Arabia. View More 8 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition announced that “the Huthis attempted to attack a commercial ship south of the Red Sea using a booby-trapped boat with explosives”. View More 5 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted drones purportedly bound for an airport in Jizan. View More 3 July 2019 Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei remarked that “Hajj is a political act and this political act is identically a religious obligation. That they prohibit such political acts is itself a political move, but an anti-religious one. That they say you have no right to talk against the U.S. is a Satanic political act”. He further said that “the Saudi government bears major responsibilities. Among their responsibilities is providing security for the pilgrims but they should not create a security atmosphere”. View More 2 July 2019 The Saudi-led coalition announced that a Huthi attack against Abha airport injured nine civilians. The U.S. State Department's spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, condemned the attack and asserted that “we stand firmly with our Saudi partners in defending their borders against these continued threats by the Huthis, who rely on Iranian-made weapons and technology to carry out such attacks”. View More 1 July 2019 Saudi Arabia downed a Huthi drone reportedly bound for Saudi Arabia within Yemen’s airspace. View More 30 June 2019 The Saudi-led coalition intercepted two Huthi drones; one was reportedly bound for Jizan while the second was said to have been bound for Asir. View More 27 June 2019 The Saudi-led coalition downed a Huthi drone, said to be bound for Saudi Arabia, inside Yemeni airspace. View More 24 June 2019 The U.S., Saudi Arabia, the UK and the UAE released a joint statement conveying “concern over escalating tensions in the region and the dangers posed by Iranian destabilising activity to peace and security both in Yemen and the broader region”. The statement went on to “call on Iran to halt any further actions which threaten regional stability, and urge diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions”. View More 23 June 2019 The Saudi-led coalition announced that a Huthi attack on Abha International Airport left one killed and seven injured. Secretary of State Pompeo condemned the attack and contended that “some want to portray the Yemen conflict as an isolated civil war, without a clear aggressor. It is neither. It is spreading conflict and humanitarian disaster that was conceived of and perpetuated by the Islamic Republic of Iran… With every attack conducted by an Iranian proxy, the regime tacks another day onto its forty-year track record of spreading death and chaos in the region, and beyond”. He went on to reiterate that “we will continue our pressure campaign until Iran stops its torrent of violence and meets diplomacy with diplomacy”. View More 21 June 2019 In Riyadh, the U.S. special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, stated that “Iran’s efforts to use surrogates to attack Saudi Arabia and destabilise the region needs to be countered”. He added that “our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force, Iran needs to meet our diplomacy with diplomacy and not military force… it’s important we do everything we can do de-escalate”. Saudi Vice Minister of Defence, Khalid bin Salman, reiterated his government’s “support for the U.S. maximum pressure campaign on Iran, which came as a result of continuing Iranian hostility and terrorism”, also underlining “the dangerous role that the Iranian regime plays in Yemen”. View More 20 June 2019 The Saudi-led coalition announced that a projectile fired by the Huthis hit a desalination plant in Jizan, causing no casualties or damage. View More 18 June 2019 Saudi media reported that “Iranian experts and other Huthi militants were killed during a failed attempt to launch a ballistic missile” in Sanaa. View More 18 June 2019 Saudi Arabia intercepted two Huthi drones; one was reportedly bound for Abha while the second was downed before it entered Saudi airspace. View More 16 June 2019 Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman declared that Saudi Arabia "does not want a war in the region, but we will not hesitate in dealing with any threat against our people, sovereignty and vital interests". He went on to state that "Iran's recklessness has reached unprecedented levels", adding that "Iran must choose between becoming a normal country that plays a constructive role in the international community or remain a rogue state and assume the international consequences of its choice". Bin Salman also stressed that "the Huthi militias prioritise Iran's agenda over the interests of Yemen and its people", arguing that attacks against the Kingdom "reflect the priorities of Tehran, not Sanaa". View More 15 June 2019 Saudi Arabia downed a Huthi drone bound for Abha. View More 14 June 2019 Saudi Arabia announced that its military had "successfully intercepted and destroyed five unmanned drone aircraft launched by Huthi militia towards Abha International Airport and Khamis Mushait". View More 13 June 2019 Following Secretary of State Pompeo's assertion that "Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today", a senior Saudi official indicated that "we have no reason to disagree... Iran has a history of doing this". View More 12 June 2019 Appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a senior State Department official explained that Secretary Pompeo's 24 May emergency notification on arms sales was spurred by "the significant increase in the intelligence threat streams related to Iran; the clear, provocative and damaging actions taken by Iran's government; and the need to respond to military capability requests from our partners". He also offered his endorsement of the CENTCOM commander's assessment describing "the threats posed by Iran as clear, compelling, very real and possibly imminent". View More 12 June 2019 The Saudi-led coalition announced that "a hostile projectile fired by the Huthi militia hit the arrivals hall at Abha International Airport", injuring 26. View More 10 June 2019 Saudi Arabia shot down a pair of Huthi drones reportedly bound for Khamis Mushait. View More 6 June 2019 In a briefing to the UN Security Council regarding the 12 May tanker incident, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway assessed that "the four attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor". The Saudi envoy subsequently asserted that "the responsibility for this action lies on the shoulders of Iran. We have no hesitation in making this statement".