Date
28 March 2017
Foreign ministers of Arab League nations hold an emergency summit in Cairo to discuss the regional situation following fresh tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Reuters
Foreign ministers of Arab League nations hold an emergency summit in Cairo to discuss the regional situation following fresh tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Reuters

Arab League accuses Iran of undermining regional security

Condemning the recent attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, Arab foreign ministers on Sunday accused Teheran of undermining regional security with provocative acts and interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

“Iran has to decide what kind of neighbor it wants to be: a good neighbor or a chaotic neighbor and so far it behaves like the latter,” Reuters quoted UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan as saying after an emergency Arab League meeting in Cairo.

Tensions between the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Muslim Iran have escalated since Saudi authorities executed Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2, triggering outrage among Shi’ites across the Middle East.

In response, Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, prompting Riyadh to sever relations.

Tehran then cut all commercial ties with Riyadh, and banned pilgrims from traveling to Mecca.

Other Arab countries have recalled envoys to Iran and the United Arab Emirates downgraded relations in solidarity with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said cutting commercial and diplomatic ties was a first step, and that his country will discuss potential further actions against Iran with its regional and international allies. 

If Iran continues to support “terrorism, sectarianism and violence”, it would face opposition from all Arab countries, Jubeir told a news conference following the Cairo meeting.

In a closing statement distributed after the meeting, the Arab League also referred to the reported discovery by Bahrain of a militant group that it said was backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Reuters reported.

All members of the Arab League voted in favor of the statement, with the exception of Lebanon, where Iranian-backed Hezbollah is a powerful political force, it said.

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RC

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