Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of "genocide" in Yemen and urged the Arab monarchy to stop its "disastrous crimes as soon as possible," as escalating rhetoric compounded regional tensions.
The unusually harsh comments directed at Tehran's main regional rival come after a fortnight of Saudi-led air strikes against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been branded by Riyadh as Iranian-backed terrorists.
"Killing children and destroying the infrastructure and national wealth of a country is a big crime . . . Saudis will definitely lose," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech. "This move in the region is not acceptable and I warn them to stop their criminal act in Yemen."