Middle East

Iran has no role in the Arab world other than to get out: Saudi FM

Thu, 2018-09-27 00:00

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Thursday said his country and its allies are determined to push the "world's chief sponsor of terrorism" out of the Arab world if it does not move out on its own.

"Iran has no role in the Arab world other than to get out," Al-Jubeir said in a forum of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, a think-tank, repeating previous statements by Saudi Arabia and its allies that Iran is trying to dominate the Mideast region.

He said Iran spent the last four decades trying to entrench itself in the Arab world through proxy militias such as the Hezbollah of Lebanon, but Saudi Arabia and its allies "will work on pushing them back and I have no doubt that in the end we will succeed."

He pointed out that the Iranians "are losing in Yemen, their position is not what it was a few years ago in Iraq, and in Syria over the long run they will lose and in Lebanon Hezbollah will change."

Al-Jubeir's remarks comes a day after US President Donald Trump blasted Iran in his annual address to the UN General Assembly, accusing its leaders of corruption and spreading chaos throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Iran's economy has been on a downward spiral after Trump got the US out of a 2015 deal in which Western nations would free frozen Iranian assets in exchange for Tehran's freezing its nuclear weapons ambitions. Iran has been accused of exploiting the deal to develop missiles that it uses to threaten its neighbors.

Al-Jubeir said Iran is solely to blame for the morass that its economy is in. On Wednesday, the Iranian rial hit a record low against the US dollar on the unofficial market and the nation has seen growing protests amid a deterioration in the economic situation.

He said Iran's model of "sectarianism and terrorism" is doomed to failure. "I hope that Iran can have a government that is responsible so that the Iranian people, who have a great history, can lead normal lives," he said.

Qatar 'dangerous behavior'

In the same forum, Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies remain open to a dialogue with Qatar with a view to restoring relations, but Doha needs to change its "dangerous" behavior first.

"We have no hostility towards Qatar, but we vehemently oppose their behavior, which is very dangerous to us and our citizens and security," he said. "The problem with the Qataris is that they are still in denial. We need to move them from denial to introspection so they can fix the problem."

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing their erstwhile ally of supporting terrorist and extremist groups — a charge Qatar rejects.

Specifically, the quartet accused the Qatar government and wealthy individuals and groups of sponsoring radicals, inciting people, and becoming a base for the Muslim Brotherhood since the mid-90s.

Kuwait had tried to mediate, and the Anti-Terror Quartet — or ATQ — as the four-nation group had become known, even slashed its original 13-point demand to only six, which included committing to six principles on combatting extremism and terrorism and negotiate a plan with specific measures to implement them.

Qatar rejected the demands, and opted to fight the sanctions imposed by the quartet by seeking help from Iran and Turkey.

"I hope the Qataris change, and if they don't we are patient people, we will wait for 10, 15, 20, 50 years," Al-Jubeir said during the forum.

"The Qataris use their media platforms to spread hate, send weapons to Al-Qaeda-affiliated militia in Libya. The Qatari Emir was conniving with Qaddafi on how to overthrow Saudi Arabia," he said.

"People see a young country (Qatar), young leadership, they buy fancy buildings, they have a nice airline, and they think 'wow, these guys are really modern,' but we have to deal with the dark side," he said.

Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: QatarAdel Al-Jubeir Trump tells UN Security Council Iran must never gain a nuclear weaponQatar accused of building World Cup stadiums on land stolen from persecuted tribeIran video threatens missile strikes on UAE, Saudi ArabiaQatari tribe continues campaign for justice at UN in Geneva


Arab News


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