Sunday, 21 July 2019

US, Saudi behind Middle East instability, says Iranian FM Zarif

Sputnik

DOHA: Iran’s Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif rejected accusations that Tehran is sponsoring terrorism in the region, suggesting that the actions of Saudi Arabia and the US have led to “dangerous escalations” in the Middle East .

Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the Doha Forum in Qatar, Zarif dismissed claims that Iran is the cause of instability in the Middle East . “I think actions speak much louder than words; what is happening in our region, now people are witnessing the source of instability in region, be it in Yemen, be it elsewhere,” the minister said.

Zarif noted that the instability in the region was caused by “the wrong policies that are being followed, not only by Saudi Arabia but by its allies in the West who have given it a blank check to continue to make these very dangerous escalations.”

He referred to the four-year-long civil war in Yemen which the UN has called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Saudi Arabia has blamed Yemen’s Houthi rebels for the crisis, charging them with receiving support from Tehran, while Iran has accused the Saudi-led bombing campaign of contributing to thousands of deaths.

Earlier today Zarif reiterated that Iran has never provided weapons to the Houthis, noting that Saudi Arabia is interested in increasing tensions in the region, with the minister highlighting the examples of the blockade of Qatar and the military operation in Yemen as proof.

International aid organizations and governments have been urging Saudi Arabia and its allies to halt its airstrikes, as 12 million people in Yemen are facing starvation. Five international aid groups penned a statement earlier this month warning that if Washington did not end its support for the Saudi-coalition, it too “will bear responsibility for what will be the largest famine in decades.” On Thursday, Saudi-supported Yemeni government representatives and the Houthis agreed to a cease-fire in the critical port city of Hodeidah, making the most significant step toward peace since the start of the war.

Zarif also slammed actions by the US, noting that it was Trump’s government who had the “violated the nuclear agreement.”

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