Iran warned Britain and the US that airstrikes are fuelling chaos and disorder in the Middle East after successive bombing raids across the region.
The latest wave of attacks on Saturday night was “in clear contradiction with the repeated claims of Washington and London that they do not want the expansion of war and conflict in the region”, Nasser Kanani, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, said.
The comments came after Britain and the United States bombed Houthi militants in Yemen on Saturday and the US carried out its largest raid since the Iraq war on Friday night.
Friday’s strikes followed a drone strike in Jordan last Sunday that killed three US military personnel. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels also vowed to respond to the latest attacks.
Yahya Sarea, the Houthi’s army spokesman, said that the UK and US conducted 48 airstrikes across six militant-held governorates and vowed that it would not deter them from their attacks on global shipping, which they frame as a support mechanism for Palestine.
“We will meet the escalation with escalation,” Sarea said. The British Government denied that it was an escalation.
The Houthis gave no assessment of the damage but the US described hitting underground missile arsenals, launch sites and helicopters used by the group.
In a sign of unease from Iran, its army later released a video warning the US against attacking two of its cargo ships, the Behshad and the Saviz, which have long been suspected of being a forward operating base for Iranian commandos.
“Those engaging in terrorist activities against Behshad or similar vessels jeopardise international maritime routes, security and assume global responsibility for potential future international risks,” the video said, describing them as “floating armories”.
The Behshad is currently docked in Djibouti just off the coast from a Chinese military base.
Hamas also condemned the strikes, blasting them as an “escalation that will drag the region into further turmoil and instability”.
The US again indicated on Sunday night that there are more airstrikes to come.
Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor, said: “We intend to take additional strikes and additional action to continue to send a clear message that the United States will respond when our forces are attacked, or people are killed.”
Mr Sullivan declined to say if the US would launch strikes on Iran directly, stating it would “not be wise” to discuss what the US is “ruling in or ruling out”.
On Sunday, the UK’s Foreign Secretary implored the Houthis to stop their “reckless” attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea following the latest air strikes.
Lord Cameron said the third wave of joint UK and US assaults took place after “repeated warnings” for the rebel group to cease its campaign of attacks on commercial ships.
Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s were supported by Voyager tankers during the allied mission as they targeted locations in Yemen used by the Iran-backed militants.
Analysts have said that airstrikes on the Houthis are feeding their anti-Western propaganda machine, and warn that the group may be encouraged to ramp up their own attacks.
“Airstrikes play into the Houthis’ hands, validating their narrative that they’ve been at war with America,” Nadwa Dawsari, a Yemen analyst, said.
“Now they can evade governance responsibilities and force more people into contributing to their war efforts.”