Iran has slammed Saudi Arabia’s “delirious talk” as it hit back at a damning speech by the kingdom’s ruler during an annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations.
During a video statement on Wednesday, King Salman bin Abdulaziz called on the 193-member UN General Assembly for a comprehensive solution to Riyadh’s archenemy and to stop it from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.
In his address, the 84-year-old Saudi monarch alleged that Iran has exploited its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers to “intensify its expansionist activities, create its terrorist networks and use terrorism” which has “produced nothing but chaos, extremism, and sectarianism”.
“Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to international peace and security,” he said.
In response, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, accused Saudi Arabia of distorting facts and shifting the blame for its own “crimes”, branding it the “main financial and logistical supporter of terrorism in the region”.
Sunni Muslim-majority Saudi Arabia and Shia-dominated Iran have for years been locked in several proxy wars in the region, including in Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Tehran-aligned Houthi movement.
“Constant ground and political defeats in Yemen, have made Saudi Arabia to turn to delirious talk and they want to get away from the responsibility of their war crimes against Yemeni women and children by pointing the finger at other countries,” Khatibzadeh said.
He added that Saudi Arabia’s cheering of the “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, the endeavours to expand ties with Israel and its “billion-dollar ransoms from its own people’s pockets” have been fruitless, turning it into a “puny” nation among Arab countries.
In his speech, King Salman refrained from criticising the recent Washington-brokered “normalisation” deals struck in recent weeks between the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to establish ties with Israel.
Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s envoy to the UN, also denounced King Salman’s accusations as “baseless” and accused Saudi Arabia of being “the source of instability in the region”.