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Saudi calls on Muslim world to reject Iran 'interference': minister


AFP Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has called on Islamic nations to reject its arch-rival Iran's "interference" in the affairs of other countries, amid a spike in regional tensions.
"Tehran's support for Huthi rebels in Yemen is proof of Iranian interference in other nations' affairs and this is something that... Islamic countries should reject," minister Ibrahim al-Assaf told a gathering of foreign ministers of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah city on Wednesday.
Assaf was speaking on the eve of emergency Arab and Gulf summits called by Saudi Arabia at the weekend as tensions between Iran and the US raise fears of military escalation.
The summits in Mecca, Islam's holiest city, allow US ally Riyadh the chance to present unified Islamic, Arab and Gulf fronts against its arch-rival Tehran.
A representative of Iran attended Wednesday's gathering of OIC, of which it is a member, an AFP reporter saw. But Iran's foreign minister was not present.
Regional tensions have spiked since President Donald Trump's administration reimposed sanctions against Iran after Washington unilaterally pulled out of a multilateral 2015 nuclear accord signed with the Islamic republic.
Two Saudi oil tankers, among four vessels, were the targets of mysterious acts of sabotage off the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this month, and Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels have stepped up drone attacks on the kingdom -- one of which resulted in the temporary shutdown of a major oil pipeline.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday that Iran was almost certainly behind oil tanker attacks that sent Gulf tensions soaring -- an accusation Tehran dismissed as "laughable".

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First Published: May 30 2019 | 3:45 AM IST

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