Rouhani mocks Riyadh for taking Iran for scapegoat

President Hassan Rouhani Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of using his country as a scapegoat to cover up its defeats in the region.

“Saudi Arabia was unsuccessful in Qatar, was unsuccessful in Iraq, in Syria and recently in Lebanon. In all of these areas they were unsuccessful,” he said in the live interview broadcast on state television.

“So they want to cover up their defeats.”

The Iranian leader was responding to questions reviewing his first 100 days in power in his second term.

Iran and its regional rival have stopped short to take military actions against each other this month limiting just to war of words.

Tension has flared up between the two following a series regional events.

Teheran and Riyadh became involved in the botched resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri who, on November 4, announced his resignation in a broadcast from Riyadh. Two weeks later, upon returning to Lebanon, he suspended his move at the demand of President Michel Aoun.

Riyadh, also early this month, openly criticized Tehran for giving support to Yemen Houthi rebels who launched a ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia that was intercepted near Riyadh international airport. Riyadh said Tehran supplied the missile.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a Pan-Arab coalition in Yemen since 2015 with the aim of restoring the rule of President Mansour Hadi, chased out of capital Sana’a by the Iran-backed rebels. The rebels have held firmly the capital and now occupy vast swathes of the country.

Qatar has resisted Saudi Arabia’s and its allies’ demands for reduction of diplomatic ties with Iran, shutdown of Al Jazeera news network among other demands as conditions to re-establish ties with the tiny Gulf country accused of funding terrorism.

Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia form a line of resistance in the region, which has worked towards stability and achieved “big accomplishments,” Rouhani said.

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