Riyadh hopes Iran quits ‘aggressive policies’

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks at the International Institute of Strategic Studies conference "Manama-Dialogue 2015" at Manama.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks at the International Institute of Strategic Studies conference “Manama-Dialogue 2015″ at Manama.


Saudi Arabia hopes Iran will use the financial proceeds it secures after sanctions are lifted after its nuclear deal with world powers to develop its economy rather than for “aggressive policies,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said at a security conference in Manama on Saturday.

He added that he believed the conflict in Saudi Arabia’s neighbour Yemen, where it is backing forces fighting the Iran-allied Houthi group, was entering a “final phase”, citing military advances made by a Riyadh-led coalition.

Iranian support for subversion in Arab states is as big a threat to the region as ISIS, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said at the annual Manama Dialogue.

“Iran’s action, especially in Bahrain, is as big a threat to us than ISIS,” the official added. “These actions are no less a threat to us than Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the militant group and accusing Iran of smuggling arms into Bahrain.

He added that the Houthi militia in Yemen, which Gulf states are fighting and accuse of being a proxy for Iran, which the group and Tehran both deny, can have a future in the country so long as it disarms and participates in a political solution.

“We can work with our neighbors in the region, but not at the expense of our security and stability,” Sheikh Khaled added.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

The foreign minister also discussed a recent escalation in deadly violence at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

“With everything that is going on in the region, the violence in Aqsa is the last thing we need in our region.

“But no challenge more pressing for the region than the Syrian crisis,” he added.

Also speaking at the conference was U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who said the United States remained “laser focused” on what he called objectionable Iranian actions including support of terrorism in the region in the wake of its nuclear deal with major powers.

“We realize that the Iran Nuclear Deal is just that, a deal. We have no illusions of its bigger impacts across the region. So we are laser focused on Iran’s objectionable actions and activities in the region and we have and will address them.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.


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