By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Iran has criticized an Arab League resolution accusing Tehran and the allied Lebanese Shi’ite group Hizballah of destabilizing the region, contending that it is “full of lies.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi made the comments on November 20, the day after Arab League foreign ministers accused Iran of “aggression” against Arab states and vowed to take the matter to the UN Security Council.
The move came amid heightened tensions between Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shi’ite Iran over Lebanon and the conflict in Yemen.
Ghasemi asserted that the Arab League statement was the product of Saudi “pressure and propaganda,” according to Iranian state media.
The spokesman also called on Riyadh to stop what he said was its aggression in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has backed the government against Iranian-supported Huthi rebels in a three-year war, and to end its “pressure” on Lebanon and Qatar.
A coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia has broken diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, claiming that it has too close ties to Iran and that it helps to finance regional terrorism.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a Saudi ally, resigned on November 4 in a surprise announcement made from Riyadh.
Hariri said he was afraid for his life and cited Iran and Hizballah for meddling in Arab countries.
Hizballah is part of a Lebanese government made up of rival factions and is an ally of President Michel Aoun, who refused to accept Hariri’s resignation and accused Saudi Arabia of holding the prime minister against his will. Riyadh and Hariri deny those accusations.
Following French intervention, Hariri flew to France and said that he would return to Beirut in the coming days.
Aoun also rejected the Arab League statement accusing Hizballah of terrorism and of supporting “terrorist groups” across the region.
The Lebanese president rejected on November 20 any accusation that the government is “a partner in terrorist attacks” and said that Lebanon has the right to defend itself against Israeli “aggression.”
The Arab League resolution also issued “strong condemnation” of a recent missile attack targeting Riyadh, saying it was “blatant aggression against the kingdom and a threat to Arab national security.”
It affirmed Saudi Arabia’s right to defend its territory and said they would support all legitimate procedures it might take “against these Iranian violations.”
The Saudis said the missile fired from Yemen was intercepted on November 4 before it hit any targets.
Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Iran of arming the Huthi rebels, allegations denied by both.
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