Arab League stance on Iran ´worthless´, says Tehran


TEHRAN: Iran on Monday dismissed as “worthless” a resolution by Arab League foreign ministers that accused the Islamic republic of “aggression” against Arab states.

“The solution to the region´s problems, many of which are down to Saudi Arabia´s sterile policy, is not to publish such worthless statements but to stop following the policies of the Zionist regime (Israel) which seeks to stoke divisions,” the ISNA news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi as saying.

On Sunday, the Arab League held an extraordinary general meeting in Cairo, at the request of Saudi Arabia, as tensions soar between the regional arch-rivals, including over League member Lebanon.

In Beirut on Monday, Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said Lebanon should be “spared” from spiralling regional tensions.

Riyadh had called Sunday´s meeting to discuss “violations” by Tehran.

Ghassemi also described the Arab League´s statement as “untrue” and urged Saudi Arabia to “immediately stop its savage aggression against the Yemeni Arab people” and “stop its pressure on Lebanon, Qatar and the entire region”.

He accused Riyadh of “following the policy of the Zionist regime… that seeks to divert attention from the main issue, namely the occupation of Palestine”.

Sunday´s League resolution issued “strong condemnation” of a November 4 missile attack by Huthi rebels in Yemen and targeting Riyadh, saying it was “blatant aggression against the kingdom and a threat to Arab national security”.

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Iran of backing the Shiite Huthis, an allegation Tehran denies.

The League ministers affirmed Riyadh´s right to defend its territory and said they would support all legitimate procedures it might take “against these Iranian violations”.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had earlier warned that Riyadh “will not hesitate to defend its national security to keep its people safe”.

Sunni Muslim Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran have had no diplomatic ties since January 2016 and back opposing sides in several regional conflicts, including the wars in Yemen and Syria, as well as the Lebanese issue.

Saudi-Iranian tensions have escalated over Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri´s shock announcement on November 4 that he would resign, in a statement from Riyadh in which he cited Iran´s “grip” on his country and threats to his life.