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1 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Riyadh rallies allies against Tehran at Mecca summits

Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of ‘sowing division’
AFP, Mecca
Riyadh rallies allies against Tehran at Mecca summits
This handout photo taken and released by the Jordanian Royal Palace shows Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C) amid Arab leaders and officials during a family picture taken at the Arab League summit meeting held in the Saudi holy city of Mecca yesterday. AFP PHOTO

Gulf and Arab allies rallied around Saudi Arabia yesterday as it ratcheted up tensions with regional rival Iran after a series of attacks, drawing accusations from Tehran of “sowing division”.

Tehran, which has strongly denied involvement in any of the attacks, expressed disappointment that Riyadh plans to level the same “baseless accusations” at a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) early today.

King Salman called on Gulf and Arab leaders to confront Iran’s “criminal acts” after still unexplained sabotage attacks damaged four vessels, two of them Saudi oil tankers, in the Sea of Oman and twin Yemeni rebel drone attacks shut down a key Saudi oil pipeline.

His remarks came at the start of two back-to-back emergency summits in the Muslim holy city of Mecca that drew near-unanimous support for the Sunni kingdom from Gulf and Arab states—with the notable exception of Iraq.

A joint statement issued by Arab leaders condemned “acts by the terrorist Huthi militias supported by Iran who (sent) aircraft that crossed into Saudi Arabia to two oil pumping stations and acts of sabotage that affected commercial ships in territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates”.

They said Iran’s behaviour “poses a direct and serious threat” and called on “the international community to take a firm stand to confront Iran and its destabilising acts in the region”.

A joint statement issued by Gulf leaders went further, echoing criticism of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran voiced by US President Donald Trump when he abandoned the agreement in May last year.

It expressed “support for the US strategy towards Iran” that has seen Washington tighten the screws on Iran’s economy with crippling unilateral sanctions and deploy an aircraft carrier task force, B-52 bombers and an amphibious assault ship to the Gulf, along with additional troops. Gulf leaders called on Iran to “stay away from hostile, destabilising acts”.

They urged the international community to take “more serious and effective steps to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities and to impose stricter restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile programme”.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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