Saudi concern over Iran; intent to support Iraq Sunnis
Saudi Arabia-Iraq, Politics, 12/16/2006
Iran's Ambassador to Riyadh, Mohammad Hosseini, conferred with Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Nayef bin Abd al-Aziz, today calling for expansion of bilateral ties.
Hosseini referred to Iran's determination to develop relations between the two nations as a priority for foreign policy, and hoped that by achieving the goal, both countries would gain fruitful results in line with their national interests.
The Saudi interior minister, for his part, also hoped that the two countries would witness constant growth in bilateral cooperation. Iran and Saudi Arabia inked security cooperation accord concurrent with the visit made by Saudi Minister to Tehran in 2001.
In what is seen as concern about Iran's growing influence in the region, The New York Times reported Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has informed the US of its opposition to the US holding talks with Iran, and revealed supposed Saudi intention to back "Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq's Shiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq.
In a sign of the religious tension as a result of the Iraqi Sunni-Shiites polarization, the report added a group of prominent Saudi clerics had "called on Sunni Muslims around the world to mobilize against Shiites in Iraq. The statement called the 'murder, torture and displacement of Sunnis' an 'outrage.'"
Meantime, Iranian Substititue Friday prayers Leader of Tehran Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that Iranians have proved they never yield to the pressures exerted by the western countries. He also lambasted the European Court of Justice ruling to defreeze the assets of the terrorist MKO grouplet and called it "illgitimate." He criticized the move by some Saudi clerics who he said have tried to create differences among Muslims on the eve of Hajj ritual ceremony.
The Westerners have targeted Islam and they have nothing to do with Shiite or Sunni, he pointed out.
He also criticized recent comments made by Britain Prime Minister Blair who called Iran as an strategic threat for the region and described the claim as a sheer lie. "If you think Iran will target UK and US interests, you are right and can consider us as a threat but if you mean Iran would threaten countries in the region, the leaders and nations in the region are quite aware that this is an English lie."
Pointing to Blair, he said it was UK and US who encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Iran and Kuwait and now you continue your crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. You are such wolves which do not mind setting the whole world on fire to meet your colonial interests.
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