News / Middle East

    Gulf Foreign Ministers Back Saudi Arabia in Dispute With Iran

    FILE - Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani, shown at Arab League headquarters in Cairo in September 2014, says it's the council's view that Iran "carries the responsibility" for recent attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities.
    FILE - Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani, shown at Arab League headquarters in Cairo in September 2014, says it's the council's view that Iran "carries the responsibility" for recent attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities.
    VOA News

    Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council have expressed their support for Saudi Arabia in its diplomatic dispute with predominantly Shi'ite Iran.

    The council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, in a statement criticized what it described as Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia and the region.

    "The Ministerial Council discussed the repercussions of the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in the Iranian city of Mashhad. It strongly condemned these acts and stated that Iran carries the responsibility for these terrorist acts," said GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani following a meeting in Riyadh of the foreign ministers.

    Saudi Arabia has also asked the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League to convene a meeting to discuss the situation.

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country, which cut ties with Iran this past week, would considering taking further measures.

    "We are looking at additional measures to be taken if it [Iran] continues with its current policies," he said.

    The heightened tensions came in the aftermath of Sunni Saudi Arabia's recent execution of a leading Shi'ite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. After Riyadh announced his execution, along with 46 others, angry Iranian protesters smashed furniture and set fires at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, with demonstrators also attacking the country's consulate in Mashhad.

    In response, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which has a Shi'ite majority, severed diplomatic relations with Iran. Kuwait recalled its ambassador, the United Arab Emirates downgraded its ties, and Oman and Qatar condemned the attacks.

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