Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir blamed Iran’s leadership of treading the path of darkness, death and destruction.
“The region is currently witnessing two competing visions: the vision of light and the vision of darkness,” he said.
“The vision of light seeks development, better living standards, women and youth empowerment, technology … This is what we have been doing in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The vision of darkness is based on sectarianism and division, destruction and death, and that is exactly what Iran has been pursuing in the Middle East.”
Jubeir was speaking at the second plenary session of the IISS Manama Dialogue 2019, the 15th regional security summit held in Bahrain under the patronage of Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.
Jubeir said that the effects of the competition between these two visions can be witnessed in some countries due to interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon, Syria and the GCC.
The other panelists were Dr. Anwar Gargash, United Arab Emirates Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, and Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK National Security Advisor, Cabinet Secretary, Cabinet Office, reported the Bahrain news agency (BNA).
“Appeasement simply cannot work with Iran. We hold Iran responsible for the attack on the Saudi Aramco facility in Abqaiq. We do not want war, but Iran needs to be held accountable. The question is whether Iran can abandon its ambition to propagate the revolution and respect sovereignty,” Jubeir said.
“Germany under Hitler, the Soviet Union, Iran today: revisionist states threaten international order. The key to stability is deterrence and steadfast resolve by the international community that Iran must change. If not, sanctions must be tightened, not loosened.”
“Many of us wondered about dialogue with Iran … how you can talk with a regime or country which calls for destruction of the others?” Jubeir wondered.
The minister was of the view that the sovereignty of each nation should be respected.
“The GCC has had nothing against the people as Iranians are great people and have a great history but the regime should behave and treat us on equal footing. On whether sanctions should be removed or not, in our view, they have never worked for the past 20 years as the regime has never respected international law. If Iran still fails to respond to sanctions positively, it should face more stringent ones,” he stressed.
“Saudi Arabia wants to see Iran a prosperous and respectable nation but it has to abandon destruction, respect sovereignty and comply with international law,” Jubeir said.
For his part, Gargash said no country in the region wants a full fledged conflict with Iran.
“However, all countries in the region should work together on building the new regional order, which will be difficult and challenging and we need to work on such an objective by working together,” he suggested.
“We need to work more proactively on Arab alliances, regional alliances and like-minded nations to bring onboard to achieve better harmony.”
The minister applauded the proactive discussions during the Manama Dialogue and said the talks on regional and strategic issues in the Gulf would help in bringing peace and prosperity in this region.
“Growing divisions on critical international issues, such as Turkish and Iranian interference in the affairs of other countries, what kind of Middle East we need to inhabit and the question is how the Middle East can overcome the challenges,” he said.
The UAE minister recognized various strong systems of regional and international alliances, as well as the role of Jordan, Morocco and other aspects of diplomacy.
“The Turkish invasion of Syrian territory is also an eye opener for the regional nations to work together to bring stabilization and create common grounds for achieving peace in Yemen.”
He also underlined the importance of containing Iran’s expansionist agenda, saying preventing these designs by no means is declaring a full fledged confrontation, which no country in this region wants or affords.
Talking about the recent unrest in many countries, mainly Lebanon and Iraq, he said the regional governments need to put in place good governance, fight corruption and ensure efficacy.