Iran slams Saudi Arabia for ‘following Zionist policies’
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Iran slams Saudi Arabia for ‘following Zionist policies’

Tehran dismisses ‘worthless’ Arab League resolution accusing it of ‘aggression’ against Arab states

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi (YouTube screenshot)
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi (YouTube screenshot)

Iran on Monday dismissed as “worthless” a resolution by Arab League foreign ministers that accused the Islamic Republic of “aggression” against Arab states.

“The solution to the region’s problems, many of which are down to Saudi Arabia’s sterile policy, is not to publish such worthless statements but to stop following the policies of the Zionist regime (Israel) which seeks to stoke divisions,” the ISNA news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi as saying.

On Sunday, the Arab League held an extraordinary general meeting in Cairo, at the request of Saudi Arabia, with tensions soaring between the regional arch-rivals, including over league member Lebanon.

Riyadh called the ministerial-level meeting to discuss “violations” by Tehran, which backs armed groups across the region, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

Arab foreign ministers blasted Hezbollah in the summit’s resolution, saying they would hold it “responsible for supporting terrorism and terrorist organisations in Arab countries with modern weapons and ballistic missiles.”

The concluding statement demanded that Hezbollah stop intervening in regional conflicts and spreading extremism and sectarianism.

Arab Foreign Ministers meet at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, November 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil did not attend the meeting, leaving permanent representative to the Arab League Antoine Azzam to represent the country.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Sunday that Lebanon’s delegation had expressed reservations on the statement, “specifically on the points related to Hezbollah’s role.”

The Arab League head is expected to meet Monday with Lebanese president Michel Aoun and parliament speaker Nabih Berri, and take part in a conference organized by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

Lebanon has been gripped in a political crisis since Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his surprise resignation earlier this month from Saudi Arabia, lambasting Iran and Hezbollah for destabilizing his country.

The shock announcement sparked worries that Lebanon would be caught up in the spiraling tensions between Riyadh and Tehran, which back opposing political and armed groups across the region.

After resigning, Hariri spent two more weeks in Saudi Arabia amid rumors he was under de facto house arrest there, before traveling to Paris on Saturday.

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, shaking hands with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during a press conference at the Murat Lounge in the Elysee Palace in Paris, September 1, 2017.(AFP/ludovic MARIN)

There, he met French President Emmanuel Macron and pledged he would be in Lebanon in time to mark its independence day on Wednesday.

“I will participate in the celebrations for our independence and it is there that I will make known my position on all the issues after meeting with the president of our republic, general Michel Aoun,” he said.

On Sunday, the Lebanese politician said he would visit Cairo on Tuesday to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

A source close to Hariri said that meeting aimed to “continue the series of Arab and international consultations.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to give a speech Monday at 6 p.m. (4 p.m. GMT) on the crisis in Lebanon and tensions between Riyadh and Tehran.

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