News / Middle East

    Arab Foreign Ministers Back Saudi Arabia in Dispute with Iran

    Arab League Accuses Iran of Interfering in Arab Affairs, Fueling Unresti
    X
    Zlatica Hoke
    January 11, 2016 2:26 AM
    Arab League foreign ministers have accused Iran of interfering in Arab nations' internal affairs and fueling unrest in the region. Top Arab diplomats meeting Sunday in Cairo also condemned the Iranian government for failing to protect Saudi missions in Iran during anti-Saudi protests last week, after the execution of a prominent Shi'ite cleric in Saudi Arabia. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Related video report by Zlatica Hoke.
    Edward Yeranian

    Arab League foreign ministers expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia during a meeting Sunday in Cairo to discuss the recent attacks on its diplomatic missions in Iran.  Eight Arab countries have downgraded diplomatic ties with Iran over the attacks that followed Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shi'ite cleric. 

    The gathering of Arab foreign ministers and diplomats applauded as the United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Ben Zayid blasted Iran.

    He claims that Iran uses sectarianism as a tool to impose its hegemony over the region and to meddle in the internal affairs of Arab states.  He alleged that it supports extremist groups, trains and arms terrorists and creates militias to spread chaos and violence and destabilize the area.

    Saudi accusations

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir accused Iran of recruiting agents inside Arab countries to use against their governments and urged it to “stop interfering in internal affairs” of neighbors.

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends the Arab foreign minister's meeting at the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 10, 2016.
    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends the Arab foreign minister's meeting at the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 10, 2016.

    He claims Saudi Arabia does not want a Sunni-Shi'ite conflict, but that Iran began sowing religious divisions after its 1979 revolution, while Saudi Arabia opposes the practice.

    Iranian demonstrators attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, setting part of it ablaze, after Saudi Arabia executed a top Saudi Shi'ite religious leader, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.  

    Iranian demonstrators hold anti-Saudi placards in a rally to protest the execution by Saudi Arabia last week of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent opposition Saudi Shiite cleric, in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 4, 2016.
    Iranian demonstrators hold anti-Saudi placards in a rally to protest the execution by Saudi Arabia last week of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent opposition Saudi Shiite cleric, in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 4, 2016.

    Rouhani: Attack on Saudi Embassy 'wrong'

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week called the attack on the Saudi Embassy "wrong and against the law."  But he said Saudi Arabia cannot use severing diplomatic ties with Iran to "hide its crime" of executing Nimr al-Nimr, who was critical of the Riyadh kingdom.

    Arab League head Nabil ElArabi urged Iran to reduce tensions with its neighbors by taking firm action.

    He says it impinges on Iran to take concrete steps to prove its stated desire to improve ties with its Arab neighbors and allay their fears of meddling in their internal affairs.

    No concrete action expected

    American University of Beirut Political Science Professor Hilal Khashan tells VOA it is unlikely the Arab League meeting will result in any concrete action.

    “The Saudis simply wanted a statement of solidarity and they got it.  They did not really ask for more or expect more,” he said.

    Khashan adds Iran has repeated that it is “not interested in escalation with Saudi Arabia,” and it “suspended a number of police officials in Tehran” over the Saudi Embassy attack.

    Eight Arab states have either cut or downgraded diplomatic ties with Iran.  

     

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Moses608 from: Kenya
    January 11, 2016 6:53 AM
    Two devils fighting each other just to appear so good.Something they will never be.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    January 10, 2016 11:02 PM
    It means nothing because those Arab states have been the under dogs of the US for a long time. They are all dictatorship states which are trying to align with the US so ensure the existance of the dictators.
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 12, 2016 11:23 AM
    Igor, if Russia attacks the US it will be the end of the world for everyone. Russia can blow up America and everyone else including Russia with it. It has had that power since the 1960s. That is all it can do. Other than that it is useless and helpless.

    76 Rubbles to the US dollar and $31 a barrel for oil. Rubble, Kopek, what's the difference? Worth next to nothing. Change them into US dollars while you still can.
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 11, 2016 11:04 AM
    If the US sticks its nose into it you'd say it was interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. If it doesn't you say it tolerates dictatorships. No nation I know of interfered in the internal affairs of more nations than the USSR, that is Soviet Russia. How about getting out of Ukraine including Crimea. Crimea is NOT Russia no matter what Putin or some of the Cri-iminals say.

    Russia signed at least two international treaties recognizing Crimea as part of Ukraine. The US will not be lectured to by Russia or anyone else. That one of the privileges of being the world's only superpower and an exceptional one at that. To us Russia is just one of a couple of hundred other countries. We don't take counsel from other nations, especially those like Russia.

    by: Zarab Azari Dio-Tes from: Turkey
    January 10, 2016 7:32 PM
    Sunni Arabs criticizing Iran for sponsoring terror groups? They only need to look at the nationality and religion of the:

    -98 bombings of US embassies in east africa
    - 9/11
    - Bin Laden
    - ISIS
    - AQ
    - Paris attackers last year
    - Paris attackers this year
    - San Bernardino attackers.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 10, 2016 4:27 PM
    If the Sunnis were to attack Iran what would Russians do? Would they stick their nose in it or would they stand back and stay out? I'd guess they'd stay out. Iran would be a goner without any doing by the US or Israel. Of course much of the Sunni world would be in ruins but that's how wars go.
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    January 11, 2016 10:21 PM
    To the US, Russia is the one which can decide your existence. So if you try to harm us you will face real extermination. Bear it in your brain!

    by: Kafantaris
    January 10, 2016 3:42 PM
    There is still a political dynamic in Iran we need to be mindful of. The hardliners feel betrayed by the nuclear deal -- and they are particularly embarrassed by Iran's official handing of all of its enriched uranium to Russia. The missile tests, etc., therefore, were intended to appease the hardliners. But we will have all the opportunity in the future to clobber them and Iran if need be. So why do so now when the ink is still fresh on the nuclear deal. The big losers in that deal are the hardliners -- and they know it.

    by: Elias Thema
    January 10, 2016 3:08 PM
    I don't think allies remain good friends during the war. Japan was America's enemy during ww2.Americans Will find it hard what's going to happen during world war. They must be Concerned about their weapons which they spread around the world hoping to use them in a war,and that is their mistake.

    by: Ed the American from: United States
    January 10, 2016 2:34 PM
    Those folks will never get along. They will always be a problem for the rest of us.

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