11 Arab na­tions ac­cuse Iran of spon­sor­ing ‘ter­ror­ism’

Kuwait Times - - NEWS -

UNITED NA­TIONS:

Eleven Mid­dle East and North African coun­tries ac­cused Iran of spon­sor­ing “ter­ror­ism” and con­stantly in­ter­fer­ing in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of Arab na­tions, spark­ing ten­sion and in­sta­bil­ity in the re­gion. In a let­ter to the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly cir­cu­lated Mon­day, the 11 coun­tries cited Iran’s sup­port for Shi­ite Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Shi­ite Hezbol­lah group in Le­banon which has sent fight­ers to sup­port the Syr­ian govern­ment.

They also ac­cused Iran of sup­port­ing “ter­ror­ist groups and cells” in Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Ara­bia, Kuwait and else­where. The Arab na­tions re­it­er­ated a state­ment by Bahrain’s for­eign min­is­ter in Septem­ber that the only way for­ward is for Iran “to com­pre­hen­sively change its for­eign poli­cies and end hos­til­i­ties”. The let­ter, or­ga­nized by the United Arab Emi­rates, was signed by Saudi Ara­bia, Egypt, Jor­dan, Su­dan, Morocco, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Yemen.

The 11 coun­tries con­demned Iran for spon­sor­ing “ter­ror­ism” in the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly in Yemen where they said Tehran is sup­port­ing the Houthis fi­nan­cially and mil­i­tar­ily by train­ing their fight­ers and il­le­gally send­ing them weapons and am­mu­ni­tion. Yemen, on the south­ern edge of the Ara­bian Penin­sula, has been en­gulfed in civil war since Sept 2014 when Houthi rebels swept into the cap­i­tal Sanaa and over­threw the in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized govern­ment.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coali­tion of Arab coun­tries be­gan a mil­i­tary cam­paign against the Houthi forces, say­ing its mis­sion served in part as a coun­ter­bal­ance to Iran’s in­flu­ence with the Houthis fol­low­ing its nu­clear deal with six world pow­ers. The let­ter was a re­sponse to a state­ment by Ira­nian diplo­mat Ab­bas Yaz­dani at the end of the Gen­eral Assem­bly’s an­nual min­is­te­rial meet­ing on Sept 26.

The 11 coun­tries reaf­firmed sup­port for the nu­clear agree­ment, which capped Iran’s dis­puted nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties in re­turn for lift­ing in­ter­na­tional nu­clear-re­lated sanc­tions. But “un­for­tu­nately,” they said, since the deal was signed last year, “we have seen noth­ing but in­creased Ira­nian ag­gres­sion in the re­gion and the con­tin­u­a­tion of sup­port for ter­ror­ist groups”. “We re­main firm in our re­solve,” the Arab na­tions said, “that any in­ter­fer­ence by the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran in the do­mes­tic af­fairs of Arab states is un­ac­cept­able and must be con­fronted.”

The UAE’s UN Am­bas­sador Lana Nus­seibeh ac­cused Iran of “fu­el­ing the vi­o­lence in Yemen, and in other parts of the Mid­dle East.” The 11 coun­tries wrote to the 193mem­ber Gen­eral Assem­bly “to warn them about Iran’s ne­far­i­ous be­hav­ior, and to pres­sure Iran to stop fund­ing and arm­ing mili­tias that desta­bi­lize our re­gion,” she said in a state­ment.—

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