Iran is accusing Saudi warplanes of bombing its embassy in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, as already-heightened tensions between the two most-powerful Muslim countries in the Middle East continues to rise.
“Saudi Arabia is responsible for the damage to the embassy building and the injury to some of its staff,” Hossein Jaberi Ansari, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, was quoted by state media as saying.
Reuters quoted Brigadier-General Ahmed Asseri, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, as saying the Iranian allegation will be investigated.
The two countries are involved on opposite sides of the Yemeni civil war. The Saudi-led coalition of mostly Sunni Muslim countries supports the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was driven from power by the Houthi rebels and is now in exile. Iran, which is Shia, supports the Houthi rebels, who adhere to a strain of Shia Islam. Although the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran is often portrayed as part of the 1,400-year-old schism in Islam, the Sunni-Shiite divide doesn’t quite explain it. (You can read my colleague Uri Friedman’s piece about it here, and also David Graham’s stories on Saudi Arabia, Iran, and their respective Shia and Sunni minorities here.)