Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has reacted to a statement of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), saying what the Middle East presently needs is dialogue, and not accusations made by Saudi Arabia in the council’s name.
“Saudi Arabia, in the name of the GCC, has issued a statement and made accusations against Iran,” Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote in Arabic on his Twitter page.
“As for Iran, it recently responded to the message of the Emir of Qatar [Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani], which the country’s foreign minister [Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani] carried to Tehran, stressing the necessity of regional dialogue.”
“Our region is currently in need of dialogue, and the establishment of comprehensive regional arrangements is deemed essential more than ever,” Khatibzadeh added.
At the end of the 147th session of the GCC Ministerial Council in the Saudi capital Riyadh on March 17, the secretary general of the regional bloc, Nayef al-Hajraf, said the group stands with Saudi Arabia in all measures it takes to preserve its security.
He added that any possible future negotiations with Iran must include discussions on the country’s ballistic missiles as well as its nuclear program.
The GCC chief also criticized Iran for supporting Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and accused Tehran of destabilizing the region.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and others, launched a devastating military campaign on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.
The Yemeni armed forces and allied popular groups have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.
The GCC statement also backed the UAE’s claims to the three Iranian islands of the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa in the Persian Gulf.
The strategically-positioned islands have always been part of Iran, the proof of which can be found in and corroborated by countless historical, legal, and geographical documents in Iran and other parts of the world.
However, the United Arab Emirates has repeatedly laid baseless claims to the islands.