Arab foreign ministers yesterday condemned attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran and warned that Tehran would face wider opposition if it continued its “interference” in the internal affairs of Arab states.
Iranian protesters had stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad recently, prompting Riyadh to sever relations.
Other Arab countries have recalled envoys to Iran and the United Arab Emirates downgraded relations in solidarity with Saudi Arabia.
“Iran has to decide what kind of neighbour it wants to be: a good neighbour or a chaotic neighbour and so far it behaves like the latter,” UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said following an emergency Arab League meeting in Cairo.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said cutting commercial and diplomatic ties was a first step, and that his country would discuss potential further actions against Iran with its regional and international allies. He gave no further details.
If Iran continues to support “terrorism, sectarianism and violence”, it would face opposition from all Arab countries, Jubeir told a news conference following the meeting.
In a closing statement distributed after the meeting, the Arab League also referred to the discovery by Bahrain of a militant group that it said was backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
All members of the Arab League voted in favour of the statement, with the exception of Lebanon, where Iranian-backed Hezbollah is a powerful political force.
The Arab League set up a committee comprising its secretary general and representatives from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to follow up on the row with Iran.
They are expected to meet again on January 25 in the UAE, Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi said at the news conference.
The diplomatic row erupted following Saudi Arabia’s execution on January 2 of 47 people convicted of plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks.
The Arab League said Iran’s reaction to the executions was “flagrant interference” in Saudi affairs.
On Saturday, the GCC Ministerial Council denounced Iran’s “blatant interference” in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia. The council’s 42nd extraordinary meeting, held in Riyadh, voiced support to the measures taken by the kingdom to fight terrorism.
Riyadh supports efforts to resolve Syria conflict
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir yesterday insisted his country supports efforts to resolve the Syria conflict, despite its diplomatic dispute with Iran. “We have previously stated our support for the Syrian opposition and for efforts to find a peaceful solution in Syria,” Jubeir said at a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo. “This is still the case, we believe in this and we fully support (the peace process) despite our differences with Iran,” he said.
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