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Saudi foreign minister urges Iran to stop its current policy towards Arabs

January 10, 2016, 22:34 UTC+3 CAIRO

He put the blame for instigating sectarianism in the region on Iran

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CAIRO, January 10. /TASS/. Iran must drop its "aggressive policy" and stop interfering into domestic affairs in Arab countries, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday after an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers dedicated to the current crisis in relations between Riyadh and Teheran.

He put the blame for instigating sectarianism in the region on Iran. He said today’s meeting was a strong message to Teheran that Arab countries condemned its interference into their domestic affairs.

Iran must stop supporting terrorism, change its religious policy and stop interfering into Arab affairs, the Saudi foreign minister said. He called on Arab countries to consolidate in order to stand up to Iran’s aggression and solve arising problems peacefully. Teheran must help anti-terror efforts rather than support terrorism, he stressed.

If Iran keeps on supporting terrorism and sectarianism, it will have to face resistance of all Arab states, al-Jubeir said. The latest attack on the Saudi embassy is yet another incident in the 30-year history of Iran’s aggression. Riyadh’s subsequent severing of diplomatic and trade relations with Iran was the first step to be followed by other measures, if Teheran continues its policy, he said, adding that today’s meeting had looked at possible additional steps in this direction.

Apart from that, in his words, Saudi Arabia plans to discuss such measures with both its regional and international allies. He did not say however what kind of measures might be taken.

The Saudi foreign minister said a number of countries had offered mediation in settling the current crisis with Iran.

Today’s extraordinary meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers was convened at Riyadh’s official request. The foreign ministers said in a statement after the meeting that the Arab League condemns attacks on Saudi diplomatic mission in Iran.

All the Arab League members had supported the final communique but for Lebanon, which had opted to abstain. Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elarabi explained Beirut’s position by the fact that the final communique has the mention of the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah.

Another spiral of the crisis in Riyadh-Tehran relations followed when Saudi Arabia on January 2 executed prominent Shiite theologian cleric Nimr al-Nimr, arrested back in 2012 for criticizing the ruling regime and making calls for the observance of religious minorities’ rights and carrying out a constitutional reform.

In the evening of the same day crowds of furious Iranian demonstrators stormed the building of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and the consulate office in Mashhad. Riyadh severed relations with Teheran. Bahrain, Sudan and Djibouti supported Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates downgraded the level of diplomatic representation and Kuwait and Qatar recalled their ambassadors. Apart from that, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain halted air service with Iran.

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