Iran denies ‘hegemon’ plans, denounces Saudi and Israel

Latest news

    Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Sunday [Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP]

    Iran deflected accusations by Saudi Arabia and Israel that it was destabilising the Middle East, calling the two US client states who were trying to gloss over their “poor choices” and “strategic blunders”. 

    Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in blaming Iran for rising regional tensions at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.

    Jubeir called for “fundamental change in the Iranian regime” after Netanyahu labelled Iran as “the greatest threat to the world” and accused it of trying to impose an “empire” across the Middle East.

    Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said in his speech that criticism of his country’s policies in the Middle East had become “obsessive” and denied attempts to become a “hegemon”.

    “The US and its local clients in our region are suffering from the consequences of their own wrong choices,” said Zarif. “But they use this and other fora to revive the hysteria on Iran’s foreign policy and try to obscure its realities.”

    Iran marks 39th anniversary of Islamic Revolution

    Zarif’s list of such “poor choices” included backing US support for former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, the US invasion of Iraq to oust Hussein in 2003, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen.

    The war of words came in the wake of the most serious confrontation between Israel and Iran in recent years, when Israel launched “large scale” raids against Iranian targets inside Syria on February 10 after accusing Tehran of sending an unmanned drone into its air space from Syria.

    Israel fears Iran could use Syrian territory to stage attacks or transfer weapons to the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah. Iran began intervening in Syria’s civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad in 2015.

    Iran’s involvement in the long-running wars in Syria and Yemen has also angered its regional rival Saudi Arabia, which is fighting against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen

    Proxy conflicts

    Jubeir said “problems in the Middle East began” with the Iranian revolution of 1979, which he said “unleashed sectarianism” in the region.

    The events of 1979 led to the establishment of Hezbollah, which is “the world’s most dangerous terrorist organisation”, Jubeir said. He then condemned Iran for arming the Houthis, a claim Tehran has previously denied.

    “We didn’t attack Iran,” Jubeir said. “Iran is the one that is attacking us. Iran has started to undermine Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, including countries in Africa.”

    Earlier in the day, Netanyahu compared Iran to Nazi Germany, saying it advocates “master faith” as the Nazis advocated “master race”.

    Holding up a piece of what he said was the Iranian drone shot down over Israeli air space, Netanyahu also urged global action against Iran.

    “We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves, and we will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself,” the Israeli leader warned.

    WATCH: Netanyahu warns Iran over drone

    Zarif dismissed Netanyahu’s speech as “a cartoonish stunt” that did not deserve a response.

    He called for a new security approach in the Gulf region based on dialogue.

    “We want a strong region, we do not want to be the hegemon in the region as we believe the era of hegemony is long past – regionally as well as globally,” he said.

    “A strong region where small and large nations – even those with historical rivalries – can contribute to stability.”

    ‘Everybody to blame’

    Andreas Kreig, a defence and security analyst, told Al Jazeera there was a strategic alignment between former foes Israel and Saudi Arabia vis-a-vis Iran.

    “There’s a lot of tension in the Middle East and the tension now is not so much between Israel and the Arab world, but more between those who support Iran and those who are against Iran,” said Kreig.

    “The Saudis are now on the side of the Israelis, trying to somewhat gather support, especially in Washington DC, for a potential preliminary attack against Iran.”

    Israel and Saudi Arabia’s speeches were aimed at garnering support from neoconservatives and Republicans in the US, Kreig said. 

    View the original article:

    “Iran has been cast in the role of the bad guy when everybody is to blame for where we are at the moment, and what is needed is dialogue rather than confrontation.”

    In the same category are

    Russia to send S-300 missile defence systems to Syria Moscow says the S-300 air defence system will be delivered to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks In a televised statement on Monday, Shoigu s...
    Autumn arrives in Eastern Europe with icy weather front Cold weather is charging across Eastern Europe as the region prepares for its first Arctic blast after the summer. The leading edge of the frigid weat...
    Athletes and fans hail Tiger Woods comeback victory in Atlanta Hobbled by back problems since 2014, Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery a year ago American golfer Tiger Woods has clinched his first title vict...
    James Rickets: Filmmaker flies to Australia after Cambodia pardon Ricketson was convicted to a six-year jail sentence for espionage that he received last year after flying a drone over an opposition rally Australi...
    Turkey arrests 61 soldiers over alleged Gulen links: state media The Turkish government says the arrests following 2016 coup-attempt are in line with the rule of law Turkish authorities have ordered the arrest of...
    Hong Kong bans pro-independence party in unprecedented move Andy Chan, founder of the Hong Kong National Party, has called for independence Hong Kong has banned a political party promoting independence from ...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.