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Arab Foreign Ministers Slam Iranian Meddling, Pave Way to Security Council Complaint

Arab Foreign Ministers Slam Iranian Meddling, Pave Way to Security Council Complaint

Monday, 20 November, 2017 - 07:00
Arab foreign ministers meet at the request of Saudi Arabia, in Cairo, Egypt, November 19, 2017. (Reuters)

Arab foreign ministers condemned on Sunday Iranian meddling in the region, approving preliminary measures to resort to the United Nations Security Council to demand international action against Tehran.

Meeting at an extraordinary Arab League session in Cairo, the ministers asserted Riyadh’s right to defend itself against Iranian ballistic missile aggression.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir thanked the Arab countries for responding to Riyadh’s demand to hold the extraordinary meeting, saying that it reflects their awareness of the great dangers that the region is facing due to “the Iranian regime’s blatant interference in their internal affairs.”

He accused Tehran of stirring sectarian strife in an attempt to destabilize the region, revealing that Iran has launched some 80 ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia with total disregard to the holy Muslim city of Mecca and other sites.

“Silence over these Iranian assaults through its agents in the region will not keep any Arab capital safe from these ballistic rockets,” added the FM in his opening address to the ministers.

“Saudi Arabia will not stand idly against this blatant aggression and it will not hesitate in defending its national security to preserve the safety of its people,” he continued.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit meanwhile remarked that Iranian threats against Arab countries “have crossed all lines,” warning that their capitals are now withing range of Tehran’s rockets.

He deemed the missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels against Riyadh early in November as an “extraordinary threat and the most dangerous development in a series of events that have included sabotage and fueling strife.”

He listed a number of spy cells backed by Iran, such as its al-Abdali cell in Kuwait and others like it in different Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan. He also slammed its financing of armed militias in various Arab countries.

Furthermore, Abul Gheit condemned recent statements by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said that Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, northern Africa and the Arab Gulf cannot take any fateful step without Iran’s blessing.

The Arab League chief said that such remarks reflect the “real Iranian policy of hegemony.”

He added that Tehran’s destabilizing actions have hindered all Arab attempts to improve neighborly ties with it.

Arab countries believe that Tehran is the cause of instability in Yemen, saying that Iranian media was proud of the Houthi-launched missile against Saudi Arabia.

“It is no secret to anyone that Tehran wants Yemen to become a thorn in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf’s side,” he stressed.

Abul Gheit lamented that the international community and its influential powers have ignored Iran’s meddling and destabilizing actions, noting that it “is clear that Tehran is not receiving a clear message of the severity and dire consequences of its acts.”

In fact, it seems it has received the opposite message, which is that the nuclear deal it signed with world powers in 2015 has given its free rein in the region, he continued.

It has therefore sought to destabilize it as part of a clear sectarian policy of inciting Shi’ite societies in Arab countries in order to link up its various militias so that it can reach the Mediterranean coast, he explained.

He called on the international community, specifically the Security Council, to “decisively intervene” to confront Iranian threats that “are pushing the region towards a dangerous abyss.”

He said that an Arab group at the international organization will inform international powers of the Arab stance that rejects Iranian threats.

“The Security Council may be called to convene if Iran does not comply with the Arab decision to reject its threats and backing of the Houthis and ‘Hezbollah’,” he added.

Head of the current term of the Arab League, Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssef told Asharq Al-Awsat that there is a need to find an executive mechanism, such as the formation of an Arab troika, as part of a methodology on how to deal with Tehran’s threats.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri reiterated Cairo’s rejection of any non-Arab meddling in the affairs of Arab countries, condemning in the strongest terms the attacks against Saudi Arabia, the latest of which was the Houthi ballistic missile strike on November 4.

He also condemned the terrorist bombing of a Bahraini oil pipeline.

“Targeting the security of the fraternal Gulf countries is a red line and Egypt is committed to backing their security,” he added.

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