Iran rejects Saudi-Egyptian claim of Tehran’s interference in domestic Arab affairs

Press TV – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has rejected allegations by Saudi Arabia and Egypt that Tehran interferes in the internal affairs of Arab countries.   

“The claim of Iran’s interference in [the domestic affairs of] regional countries… by any side is condemned,” Qassemi said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always regarded neighboring countries as a top priority in its foreign policy and has been making efforts to help settle regional disputes, promote convergence and establish security and stability in the region,” he added.

Qassemi’s remarks came a day after a joint Saudi-Egyptian statement, part of which accused Iran of interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

The statement was issued as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Cairo on his first trip abroad.

The Iranian official stressed that the allegation of Iran’s interference was hackneyed, baseless and bogus, and showed certain countries insisted on repeating their dreadful mistakes committed in the past, warning that attempts to portray other countries as a threat served the interests of enemies and ill-wishers.

Iran has no weapons in Yemen      

Separately on Wednesday, Qassemi also rejected an allegation by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who told parliament’s foreign affairs committee that Iran had sent weapons to Yemen.

The French minister on Tuesday sidestepped questions on whether his country should end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because they were being used in Yemen, claiming that Iran also had “lots” of weapons there.

Iranian officials have on numerous occasions rejected allegations of sending weapons to war-hit Yemen, which is under a Saudi blockade.

Yemeni doctors treat a child injured by a Saudi airstrike on the northern Yemeni province of Sa’ada, on March 7, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

“This crisis (Yemen war) was initiated with the Saudi aggression and continues with weapons provided by France and other extra-regional countries,” Qassemi said, adding that the Yemen war had killed, injured and displaced hundreds of thousands of people and ruined the Arab country’s infrastructure.

He recommended that French officials be accountable to the country’s public opinion about the sale of advanced weapons to aggressors involved in the Yemen war, including Saudi Arabia, instead of playing a blame game and accusing others of creating crises in the region.

Iran has on numerous occasions clarified its stance vis-à-vis the war in Yemen, Qassemi said, stressing, “Iran has no weapons whatsoever in Yemen and all know that Yemen is under a full blockade by aggressors.”

“We advise officials of those countries [accusing Iran of sending weapons to Yemen] to… adopt a realistic approach and gain a true understanding of realities on the ground in the region to help put an end to the [Saudi] aggression and restore peace, stability and security to the region,” he added.

The French administration of President Emmanuel Macron has drawn criticism in particular from rights groups over its support for Saudi Arabia’s actions and selling weapons to Riyadh that could be used in its Yemen operations. This comes as Paris has shown no concrete signs of reducing or suspending arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition despite warnings that some of its weapons could be used in the war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, one of Riyadh’s allies in its military coalition pounding Yemen since 2015, are among France’s main weapons’ clients, receiving tanks, armored vehicles, munitions, artillery and in the case of the Emirates, fighter jets.