The spokesman for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has confirmed that Saudi leaders have been sending messages to Iran’s president through a head of state, though refraining to give any details on the nature of those messages.
Ali Rabiei made the remarks during his weekly press briefing in Tehran on Monday, when he was asked about reports denoting that the Saudi leadership has been sending messages to Iran’s chief executive.
“Yes, this is true that they have sent messages to Mr. Rouhani through a head of state,” Rabiei noted, adding, “We must see signs of it [Saudi’s 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.”
The Iranian official said Yemen’s retaliatory attacks on Saudi Arabia proved the “military might” of Yemeni forces, adding that Riyadh had earlier denied their power to do this, but Yemen’s attacks on Saudi oil giant Aramco’s refining facilities proved their might.
Reiterating that Iran would welcome a “genuine” change in Saudis’ behavior, Rabiei noted, “If they genuinely sought to change their behavior, we would welcome that.”
Asked about the prospect of Tehran-Riyadh ties, Rabiei said, “Iran’s message was clear from the very beginning; we were after an end to the Saudi aggression and massacre in Yemen and considered ceasefire the solution to the conflict.”
Iran still endorses the ceasefire as the solution to the Yemeni conflict and will do its utmost to contribute to this end, he stressed.
Yemeni armed forces announced on Saturday that three Saudi military brigades were completely destroyed after they mounted a large-scale military offensive in the kingdom’s southern border region of Najran.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Sana’a, the spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, termed the operation, dubbed Victory from God Almighty, as the biggest-ever since Saudi Arabia and some of its allies embarked on an atrocious military campaign on Yemen more than four years ago.
The military official said Yemeni forces had killed some 200 Saudi-backed mercenaries and took 2,000 others prisoner in the offensive.
Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement also said in a statement that the operation inflicted dramatic losses – both in terms of military hardware and personnel – upon the enemy.
The operation came less than two weeks after Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and their allies in the Yemeni army deployed as many as 10 drones to bomb the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities run by the Saudi state-owned oil company, Aramco.
The unprecedented attack knocked out more than half of the Saudi crude output, or five percent of global supply, prompting Saudi and US officials to claim without any evidence that it probably originated from Iraq or Iran.
Yemen has rejected claims that Iran and Iraq might have played a role in the attack.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 91,000 lives over the past four and a half years.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.