Saudi FM warns of additional measures against Iran

Adel al-Jubeir says Iran is “escalating tensions” in region as Gulf states pledge their “total support” for Riyadh.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir listens as Pakistan''s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz speaks during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad
Jubeir did not specify what action Saudi Arabia might take against Iran [Aamir Qureshi/Reuters]

Saudi Arabia has warned to take further measures against Iran if it continues to “escalate tensions” in the region. 

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir did not specify what form the measures could take as he spoke after a meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers in the Saudi capital on Saturday.

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“We are looking at additional measures to be taken if it [Iran] continues with its current policies,” he said.

Gulf states expressed their “total support” for Saudi Arabia during the meeting and said the GCC “forcefully condemns the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran,” in a statement released after the meeting.

Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with Iran after protesters ransacked Saudi diplomatic buildings in several cities, including its embassy in Tehran.

Riyadh accused Iranian officials of turning a blind eye as the mob attacked and set fire to the buildings, saying repeated requests for help were ignored.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani condemned the attack on the embassy, which came after Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr, who it accused of inciting violence.

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The episode came amid existing tensions between the two states, over the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

Iran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government against rebel groups, some of which are backed by Riyadh.

Tehran also backs Houthi rebels, who are fighting forces from the Arab coalition and the Yemeni government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia.

Jubeir accused Iran of spreading sectarianism in the Middle East and wanting to export its 1979 revolution to neighbouring countries, which are largely Sunni-led.

The Saudi Foreign Minister also called on an emergency meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to discuss the attack on the embassy.

The GCC is made up of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Oman.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies