Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, described the Iranian military presence in Iraq as “unacceptable” during a press conference on Sunday.
He accused Iran of sowing “sedition and division in Iraq,” according to the Rudaw news service. He said this division was a result of “sectarian policies that developed out of Iran’s policies in Iraq,” a reference to Iran’s support for Shiite Muslim militias that have tense relations with their Sunni Muslim neighbors.
“Iraq’s problem is religious conflicts caused by the Iranian interference,” said Jubeir, as quoted by al-Arabiya. “If Iran wants stability in Iraq, it has to stop intervening and withdraw.”
Al-Arabiya suggests Jubeir’s comments may have been prompted by such developments as Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani being sighted near the embattled Iraqi city of Fallujah, and Internet video of Iranian proxy Kata’ib Hezbollah — formally designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government — moving a large number of its rocket launchers into the Fallujah area.
“You cannot have peace in Iraq with Qassem Soleimani leading the campaign against Sunnis,” said Jubeir.
Jubeir also criticized Iran for injecting politics into the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
“Iran demanded the right to organize demonstrations and to have privileges that would cause chaos during the Hajj. This is unacceptable,” said the Saudi Foreign Minister, according to Arab News.