x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Iran president to attend Muslim summit in Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Abdullah last month called for the summit with the aim of "unifying the ranks" of Muslims, and invited its rival.

TEHRAN // Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iran president, is to attend an extraordinary summit of Muslim leaders in the holy city of Mecca next week at the invitation of the Saudi king, an aide confirmed today.

Mr Ahmadinejad will attend the summit "to discuss the development in Muslim countries," Mohammed Reza Forqani, head of international affairs in the president's office, told Iran's official IRNA news agency.

Mr Forqani said the two-day summit will start on August 14.

Saudi King Abdullah last month called for the summit with the aim of "unifying the ranks" of Muslims. It hosts the headquarters of the 57-member pan-Muslim body, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, in Jeddah.

Saudi invited Mr Ahmadinejad, SPA reported yesterday, despite heightened tensions between the nations.

In late 2011, US accusations of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington angered Riyadh, despite denials from Tehran that it had any involvement.

The two regional powerhouses have also failed to find common ground over the uprising Syria and unrest in Bahrain. A big increase in Saudi oil in the market at a time when Western sanctions are hampering Iran's crude exports has also angered Tehran.