(AP) The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates accused Iran on Saturday of playing “the greatest role in causing tension and instability” in the Middle East.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan pointed to Iran’s “expansionist regional policies, flagrant violations of the principles of sovereignty and constant interference in the internal affairs of its neighboring countries.”
He told the UN General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting in New York that regional countries hoped last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers would change Tehran’s “hostile approach,” but those hopes were “quickly thwarted.”
“Iran wasted no time in continuing its efforts to undermine the security of the region, through aggressive rhetoric, blatant interference, producing and arming militias, (and) developing its ballistic missile program,” Al Nahyan said.
Iran has been backing Syrian President Bashar Assad and Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the UAE minister said its interference in Iraq’s internal affairs “has exacerbated … division among its people.”
The leaders of most Sunni-majority Arab states have railed against Shiite Iran’s influence in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq and elsewhere. Some have quietly opposed last year’s nuclear deal, under which Tehran scaled back its nuclear activities in exchange for relief from some international sanctions.