x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Iran rejects GCC's accusation of meddling

Iran rejected Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders' accusation of interference in their affairs, accusing them of parroting "baseless" US charges against Iran while ignoring American "espionage" against Iran.

TEHRAN // Iran rejected Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders' accusation of interference in their affairs, accusing them of parroting "baseless" US charges against Iran while ignoring American "espionage" against Iran.

"In this statement, some fabricated and undocumented claims made by American officials have been pointed to," state television quoted a foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, as saying in reference to US charges of an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington. "However, it was expected that the US espionage activities against the Islamic republic of Iran be condemned."

This month Tehran displayed a CIA reconnaissance drone it said it had shot down in Iranian airspace. It later paraded an American-Iranian, Amir Mirzai Hekmati, and said he was sent to Iran to infiltrate the intelligence ministry.

On Tuesday, the GCC called on Iran to "stop interfering in the internal affairs" of its member states.

Mr Mehmanparast said that Iran "emphasises good neighbourly relations, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations".

"Violent military response to people not only does not solve ... problems but will spread instability and insecurity in the region," he said.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia deteriorated sharply after Saudi-led troops intervened in Bahrain in March to back a crackdown on pro-reform protests led by the kingdom's Shiite majority.

They worsened further when US justice officials announced in October that they had foiled what they said was an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.

The GCC also called on Iran to "fully cooperate" with the International Atomic Energy Agency and work to resolve regional conflicts "peacefully", adding that the bloc remained committed to a Middle East "free of weapons of mass destruction".

Mr Mehmanparast "utterly rejected" any concerns regarding Tehran's "peaceful nuclear activities, since they are being conducted within the UN atomic watchdog's framework".