Jordan summons Iran envoy amid diplomatic spat
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Jordan summons Iran envoy amid diplomatic spat

King Abdullah’s warning about Iranian expansion westward dismissed by Tehran official as ‘silly and careless’

File: Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks during a press conference with US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House on April 5, 2017. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
File: Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks during a press conference with US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House on April 5, 2017. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan summoned Iran’s ambassador to Amman over the weekend, the foreign ministry said, after an Iranian official slammed comments by King Abdullah in an American newspaper as “silly and careless.”

King Abdullah told the Washington Post in an interview published Thursday that Iran was involved in “strategic problems” in the region.

“There is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah/Lebanon,” he said.

He added that Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops are within 70 kilometers (45 miles) of Jordan’s border and that non-state actors approaching the frontier “are not going to be tolerated.”

In a response published in Arabic by Iran’s Fars news agency Sunday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi described the king’s comments as “silly and careless.”

“It appears that the Jordanian king made a fundamental and strategic mistake in defining terrorism,” he said.

Ghassemi said the Jordanian monarch’s comments showed “his ignorance and his superficial view of developments in the region.”

“It would be better if (Abdullah) put aside some of his time to study the logic, history and geography of the region,” he said.

Jordan’s foreign ministry on Sunday said it had summoned Iran’s ambassador in Amman, Mujtaba Fardousi Bour, to deliver a “strongly worded protest.”

It said Ghassemi’s “unacceptable” comments were “a failed attempt to misrepresent the central role the kingdom plays in supporting regional security and stability and fighting terrorism.”

Jordan, which hosts tens of thousands of refugees from the war in neighboring Syria, is part of a US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group there and in Iraq.

Iran along with Russia is the closest ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has provided money, weapons, military advisers and trainers, as well as volunteer militiamen to support it in the country’s six-year civil war.

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