In his debut speech at the 75th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly, Saudi monarch Salman bin Abdulaziz took a dig at his country’s major geopolitical rival Iran and called for an inclusive solution to contain and restrict its nuclear and missile ambitions that have been a source of tension in West Asia.
He said that Iran had exploited the landmark 2015 nuclear deal reached with world powers “to intensify its expansionist activities, create its terrorist networks, and use terrorism”. He was of the view that this had produced “chaos, extremism, and sectarianism”.
Incidentally his speech attacking Iran came just days after UAE and Bahrain established diplomatic ties with Israel and Riyadh is itself under pressure to follow suit.
It needs to be mentioned that Iran and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 before which Iran was one of the three allies of the West (which mainly includes the United States, Britain and France) in the Middle-east along-with Israel and Saudi Arabia.
King Salman further told the 193 member General Assembly, “Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to international peace and security.” He stressed the need to stop Iran from getting weapons of mass destruction.
On his country’s part Iran’s diplomat to the United Nations Alireza Miryousefi rejected the remarks by the Saudi monarch by calling them “the baseless allegations”.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in many proxy wars over the entire Middle-east with each side backing rival parties. The most notable example is that of Yemen where the government is supported by Saudi Arabia and the Houthi rebels are aligned to Iran. It has been more than five years since the conflict began.
King Salman also criticized the Iran-backed Hizbollah outfit in Lebanon of adding to the problems in the Middle-east in general and Lebanon in particular.