Iran shrugs off Saudi concerns on Iraq

Iran has played down accusations from Saudi Arabia that it is interfering in Iraq.

    Mottaki: Neighbouring countries hope for a solution in Iraq

    Iran insists it is playing a positive role in its Arab neighbour.

    "Neighbouring countries had a great role in assisting Iraq in the past to solve its problems," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Kuwait on Tuesday.

    "The collective wish of countries in the region is for a solution in Iraq. We support these activities and efforts by Iraq's neighbours in this regard," he said through a translator.

    He was answering a question about comments by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, expressing concern over growing Iranian influence in Iraq and a slide into civil war between Sunnis and Shia there.

    Referendum

    Prince Saud, whose country is predominately Sunni Muslim, said in Washington in September that the new Iraqi constitution could split the country apart and disenfranchise Sunnis.

    Iraqis are due to vote on 15 October in a referendum on the new constitution.

    Iraq's Sunni Arab neighbours are concerned about the influence of non-Arab, Shia Iran in Iraq since the 2003 US-led war that ousted former president Saddam Hussein.

    Mottaki said Iraqi President Jalal Talabani had suggested a summit of Iraq's neighbours at a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in New York last month.

    Mottaki is due to visit Riyadh later this week, on his first regional tour since taking office in August.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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