Iran Hurls ‘Support for Terrorism’ Charge Back at Rival Saudi Arabia

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi waits for the beginning of the general conference at the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
AP/Ronald Zak

(AFP) TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Wednesday hit back at Saudi accusations that Tehran provides “support for terrorism,” pointing at alleged links between Riyadh and jihadists such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Countries in the region “will never forget the role played by Saudi Arabia in conspiring for, supporting and arming violent terrorists and extremists… such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh (Islamic State) and other similar groups,” Iran’s foreign ministry said.

It also singled out Saudi support for Iraq’s fallen dictator Saddam Hussein in his 1980-1988 war against Iran, its military intervention in Yemen since 2015 and its apparent rapprochement with Israel.

Iran, a bitter regional rival of Saudi Arabia with which diplomatic ties were cut in 2016, was responding to the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who Tuesday referred to Tehran’s “support for terrorism” during a visit to Paris.

On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron said that France agreed with Saudi Arabia on the need to curb Iranian “expansionism” in the Middle East, while also announcing a conference to boost humanitarian support for Yemen, where Riyadh is waging a bombing campaign.

Speaking alongside Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a press conference as the latter wrapped up a three-day official visit, Macron called for “greater efforts to limit Iran’s ballistic activity and regional expansionism.”

The Wahhabist ideology which is historically linked to the Saudi monarchy has inspired the ideology of jihadist groups, and 15 of the 19 plane hijackers in the 9/11 attacks on the United States were Saudi nationals.


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