Iran says US partnership with Saudi Arabia which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touted in Riyadh on Sunday will lead to further instability, war, extremism and an arms race in the Middle East.
Pompeo met with Saudi and Israeli leaders during a whirlwind tour of the region, where he called for unity in the Persian Gulf to stop what he called Iran’s “destabilizing and malign activities” in the Middle East.
“What the US secretary of state has said about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s role and presence in some regional countries is a repetition of empty and baseless claims,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Monday.
In Saudi Arabia, Pompeo accused Tehran of destabilizing the Middle East through its support for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and Houthi fighters in Yemen.
Qassemi said Iran’s presence in Iraq and Syria is in response to the “requests of their legitimate governments and in line with fighting terrorism in the region.”
“This support will continue as long as the two governments need such help to combat terror,” the spokesman said.
In reference to Iran’s alleged support for the Houthis, he said, “What is said erroneously with regard to Yemen is false, only aimed at deflecting the attention of the international public opinion from the crimes being committed daily by Saudi Arabia in its aggression against the country.”
“It is just a raw and worthless claim in order to perpetuate Saudi Arabia’s conflagration and aggression against Yemen, and continue the destructive and destabilizing presence of foreign powers in the region,” Qassemi said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo embarks on a tour of the Middle East in a bid to muster support for President Donald Trump’s proposal to form an Arab military force in Syria.
The spokesman also hit out at Pompeo for calling Saudi Arabia a key partner and long-time friend of the US during a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“What the US secretary of state describes as Washington’s partnership with Saudi Arabia is aimed at destabilization and war as well as boosting arms race and extremism based on adventurist policies of some inexperienced and bellicose Saudi politicians,” he said.
This partnership, Qassemi said, “has so far had destructive consequences such as the perpetuation of violence, animosity and distrust among regional countries and brought about many crises of attrition, insecurity and instability in the region.”
“As long as this unholy expansionist partnership persists, regional nations will barely savor the taste of security and tranquility, as well as human and economic development,” he added.
The spokesman called on the Saudi and American top diplomats to have a look at the “deplorable humanitarian situation in Yemen and the extremism and terrorism in the region to understand the meaning and outcome of their claimed partnership.”