Jordan summons Iran envoy over comments on king
AMMAN // Jordan has summoned Iran’s ambassador to Amman after an Iranian official slammed comments by King Abdullah in a US newspaper as “silly and careless”.
King Abdullah told the Washington Post in an interview published on Thursday last week that Iran was involved in “strategic problems” in the region.
“There is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hizbollah/Lebanon,” he said.
He added that Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops are within 70 kilometres of Jordan’s border and that non-state actors approaching the frontier “are not going to be tolerated”.
In a response published in Arabic by Iran’s Fars news agency on Sunday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi described the king’s comments as “silly and careless”.
“It appears that the Jordanian king made a fundamental and strategic mistake in defining terrorism,” he said.
Mr Ghassemi said King Abdullah’s comments showed “his ignorance and his superficial view of developments in the region”.
“It would be better if [King Abdullah] put aside some of his time to study the logic, history and geography of the region,” he added.
Jordan’s foreign ministry on Sunday said it had summoned Iran’s ambassador in Amman, Mujtaba Fardousi Bour, to deliver a “strongly worded protest”.
It said Mr Ghassemi’s “unacceptable” comments were “a failed attempt to misrepresent the central role the kingdom plays in supporting regional security and stability and fighting terrorism.”
Jordan, which hosts tens of thousands of refugees from the war in neighbouring Syria, is part of a US-led coalition fighting ISIL there and in Iraq.
Iran, along with Russia, is the closest ally of president Bashar Al Assad’s government and has provided Damascus with money, weapons, military advisers and trainers, as well as volunteer militiamen during Syria’s six-year war.
* Agence France-Presse
Updated: April 10, 2017 04:00 AM