Saudi accuses Iran of undermining regional security

Saudi accuses Iran of undermining regional security
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 on January 7, 2016. AFP photo

Cairo - Saudi Arabia's foreign minister was speaking at an emergency Arab League session called to discuss growing tensions between the regional rivals.

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By Reuters

Published: Sun 10 Jan 2016, 3:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Jan 2016, 9:27 PM

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister accused Iran on Sunday of interfering in Arab affairs and undermining regional security, speaking at an emergency Arab League session called to discuss growing tensions between the regional rivals.
Also read: Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran after embassy attack
The crisis between Saudi Arabia and Iran, both major oil exporters, started when Saudi Arabia executed Shia cleric Nimr Al Nimr on January 2, triggering outrage among Shias across the Middle East and attacks on Saudi Arabia's diplomatic missions in Iran.
"These attacks clearly reflect the approach that the Iranian policy is taking in our Arab region specifically ... with its interference in the affairs of the (region's) states and instigation of sectarian strife and shaking its security and stability," said Jubeir.
Also read: GCC, Jordan slam attacks on Saudi missions
Also read: UAE and Bahrain back executions in Saudi

A look at long-fraught relation between Saudi Arabia, Iran
Pre-Revolution Relations: Under the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran had rocky relations with Saudi Arabia, though they improved toward the end of his reign. Both were original members of the oil cartel OPEC.
Post-Revolution: After the overthrow of the shah and takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran, Saudi Arabia quickly became America's top ally in the region. In the ensuing 1980s war between Iran and Iraq, Saudi Arabia backed Iraq.
1987 Haj Riots: The annual pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia, required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life, saw bloodshed when Iranians held a political demonstration. Iranian pilgrims later battled Saudi riot police, violence that killed at least 402 people. Iran claimed 600 of its pilgrims were killed and said police fired machine guns at the crowd. In Tehran, mobs attacked the Saudi, Kuwaiti, French and Iraqi embassies, ransacking the first two.
Severing Ties: In 1988, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran, citing the 1987 Haj rioting and Iran's attacks on shipping. Iranians responded by boycotting the Haj in 1988 and 1989. The two countries restored diplomatic ties in 1991.
Easing Tensions: Relations between the two nations improved after Iranian President Mohammad Khatami took office in 1997. Ties warmed further after historic visits by Saudi Crown Prince to Tehran in December 1997 and Khatami to the kingdom in May 1999.
Nuclear Dispute: Worries about Iran resumed in Saudi Arabia amid international sanctions against Tehran over its contested nuclear program and the increasingly harsh rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran and Saudi Arabia each backed opposite sides in Syria's civil war, as well as in the civil war in Yemen.
2015 Haj Disaster: On September 24, a stampede and crush strikes the annual Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. While the kingdom says 769 pilgrims are killed, an Associated Press count shows over 2,400 people were killed. Iran says at least 464 of its pilgrims were killed and blames Saudi Arabia.
Shia Cleric's Execution: On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric, who had been behind anti-government protests. This sparked protests across the Mideast and attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran. Saudi Arabia responded by announcing it was severing diplomatic ties with Iran over the attacks.

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