London, 28 Jul – Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday denounced “aggressive statements” by Iran, after Tehran accused Bahrain of stoking Gulf tensions by making unfounded allegations against it.
Al-Jubeir’s remarks, which followed talks with visiting EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini in Riyadh on Monday, comes amid growing tension between both regional powers following Tehran’s nuclear deal with the major world powers earlier this month.
“This does not represent the intentions of a country seeking good relations”, al-Jubeir said.
His statement came a day after Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham lashed out at Bahrain for making “unfounded allegations” to create “tension in the region” after Manama announced it detained two men accused of smuggling weapons from Iran.
“These statements are escalating, and they are many”, al-Jubeir said.
“This is unacceptable to us”, he said at a joint news conference with Mogherini.
Mogherini asserted that strong political will is required from Iran to comply with concerns being raised for regional dynamics and stability in the region. She said that the EU and Saudi Arabia share common views on regional issues, such as Palestine, Syria, Yemen and the fight against Daesh, or ISIS (ISIL). “We discussed all these issues during our talks here in Riyadh,” she said.
On Tuesday, Mogherini flew to Tehran to discuss implementation of the July 14 Vienna agreement that seeks to curb any attempt by Iran to get an atomic bomb.
The EU played a leading role in years of talks between the P5+1 states – Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany – and Iran. US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter visited Saudi Arabia to discuss the deal last week.
The accord requires Iran to curb its nuclear capabilities including the number of uranium centrifuges it is using.
According to the terms of the deal, international monitors will supervise this process, and in exchange an embargo that has crippled Iran’s economy will be eased.
The deal would see Iran’s oil exports gradually resume and billions of dollars in frozen assets unblocked.
Last week, al-Jubeir said the agreement appeared to have effective safeguards, including an inspection mechanism as well as a provision to reinstate sanctions if world powers feel Tehran has not met its commitments.
But, he said, Iran’s support for regional “terrorism” remained a concern.
Based in part on wire reports