A newspaper close to the office of Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei hinted Monday at Iranian complicity in the ballistic missile that was fired by Yemen’s Houthi militias towards the Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh over the weekend.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry tried to justify the missile despite trying to evade direct responsibility.
The missile was intercepted and no one was injured in the incident.
An Iranian foreign ministry statement quoted its spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying the accusations by the Saudi-led coalition were "unjust, irresponsible, destructive and provocative."
He made the remarks on Monday after the coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen said earlier that Tehran was to blame for the strike on Riyadh.
Iran called the missile attack "an independent action” by the Yemenis in response to Saudi measures.
The Houthi insurgents claimed responsibility for the ballistic missile attack, which was the first time a rocket fired from Yemen had reached this close to the Saudi capital.
Meanwhile, Kayhan newspaper, which is close to Khamenei’s office, ran a controversial headline on Monday suggesting that Houthi rebels in Yemen will next target Dubai, prompting widespread reactions in Iran.
Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance rushed to send a written warning to the newspaper. Later, the Secretary of the Board Responsible for Supervising the Iranian Press said the headline went “against national security and interests,” reported the IRNA news agency.
Activists had circulated the image of the front page just a few moments before the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen published a statement about Iran supplying Houthis with missiles to strike the Kingdom.
The newspaper said that the missiles were accurate and that their launch “confirms the seriousness of the threats of Abdul Malik al-Houthi.”
It was a test of missile systems in the Gulf states, it added, pointing out that the Houthis’ decision to launch rockets comes in the context of developments witnessed in West Asia and in response to strong criticism by regional countries against Iran's destabilizing role.
Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had implicitly welcomed the development of the range of missiles by the Houthis, while denying that his country had the potential to transfer missiles to Yemen.
Media outlets close to the Revolutionary Guards also announced their support for the rocket fire on Saudi Arabia.