Iran’s Rouhani Blames U.S., Saudi for Conflict in Region

DUBAI, Sept 18 (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Iran did not want conflict in the region while Defence Minister Amir Hatami said Tehran had no involvement in the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil installations, media said.

Rouhani accused the United States and a Saudi-led military coalition of starting the four-year war in Yemen, according to Iranian news agencies.

“We don’t want conflict in the region… Who started the conflict? Not the Yemenis. It was Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, America, certain European countries and the Zionist regime (Israel) which started the war in this region,” Rouhani said in a video carried by Iran‘s media.

Rouhani says Iran-aligned Houthis attacked Saudi oil facilities at the weekend as a “warning”, after attacks on hospitals, schools and markets in Yemen which have been blamed on the Saudi-led coalition.

“Rejecting comments about Iran‘s role in the operation, (Hatami) said the issue is very clear: there has been a conflict between two countries (Yemen and Saudi Arabia),” the semi-official Tasnim news agency said.

Saudi Arabia said it would show evidence on Wednesday linking Tehran to the unprecedented attack on its oil industry that Washington believes originated from Iran.

Yemen’s Houthi group, an ally of Iran, has claimed responsibility and said they used drones to assault state oil company Aramco’s sites.

A U.S. official told Reuters the strikes originated in southwestern Iran. Three officials said they involved cruise missiles and drones, indicating a higher degree of complexity and sophistication than initially thought.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom and Tuqa Khalid; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Andrew Cawthorne)