Jubeir Calls for Firm Stand against Iranian Interventions in Arab Countries


Regional tensions have escalated in recent weeks between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the surprise resignation of Lebanese prime Minister Saad Hariri, and after a ballistic missile was sacked at the kingdom by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, the predominant Shia power, have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East including in Syria and Yemen.

They also tasked "the Arab group in NY to address the security council president to clarify Iranian violations" of a UN Security Council resolution on Teheran's ballistic missiles programme.

A source close to Hariri said the Cairo meeting aimed to "continue the series of Arab and worldwide consultations".

While Tehran has made no secret of its political support for Houthi, it has repeatedly denied rumors of arming the Yemeni Houthi, with Iranian President Rouhani stating that the Houthis' missile launch at Saudi Arabia's capital was a "reaction to aggression", adding that Riyadh's belief in the Islamic Republic being its "enemy" is a "strategic mistake".

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Lebanon's foreign minister will not attend Sunday's Arab League meeting, a ministry source has told AFP, but the country's permanent representative would be present.

"Iran's biggest arm in the region at the moment is the terrorist Hezbollah arm", he said.

"The connection with the moderate Arab world, including Saudi Arabia, is helping us curb Iran", Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview on Israel's Army Radio.

The Arab foreign ministers met in Cairo at the request of Saudi Arabia, although Lebanon's foreign minister skipped the meeting.

"I trust the League's council will take on its responsibility and take a decision regarding Iranian violations of Arab security", he said ahead of Sunday's talks.

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Arab foreign ministers have condemned Iran and its allied Lebanese Shi'ite Hizballah group during an extraordinary meeting in Cairo.

Saudi Arabia, a Sunni powerhouse, has significantly sharpened its anti-Iran rhetoric since its forces on November 4 intercepted near its capital, Riyadh, a ballistic missile fired by Shiite rebels in Yemen who are allied with the Iranians.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Salman has accused Teheran of "direct military aggression" against the kingdom by supplying the Yemen rebels with ballistic missiles.

Saudi Arabia's southern neighbour Yemen has been torn apart by a war between the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Houthi rebels backed by Iran. Despite the coalition's military efforts, however, the Houthis maintain control of much of the country's north, including the capital, Sanaa.

However, the coalition has received widespread criticism for the intervention which has so far killed more than 10,000.

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