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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Saudi Arabia requests Arab League meeting on Iranian 'violations': report

Call for talks was prompted by missile attack on Riyadh, according to memo shown by diplomats

A Qiam missile, the kind believed to have been fired by Yemeni rebels at Saudi Arabia, is displayed by Iran's Revolutionary Guard during a military parade. Vahid Salemi / AP Photo
A Qiam missile, the kind believed to have been fired by Yemeni rebels at Saudi Arabia, is displayed by Iran's Revolutionary Guard during a military parade. Vahid Salemi / AP Photo

The Arab League will hold an extraordinary meeting next Sunday at the request of Saudi Arabia to discuss "violations" committed by Iran in the region, according to a memorandum.

The UAE and Bahrain supported the Saudi request, which was also approved by Djibouti, the current chair of the pan-Arab bloc, according to the document shown to Agence France-Presse by diplomats.

According to the memo, the Saudi request was based on the firing of a missile at the capital Riyadh on November 4 by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. It was brought down by Saudi air defences near Riyadh's international airport.

Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition has been battling the Houthi rebels in Yemen, accused Iran of "direct military aggression" against the kingdom by supplying the rebels with ballistic missiles.

But Iran denied any involvement in the missile attack, with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani warning that the Islamic republic's "might" would fend off any challenge.

According to the memo, Saudi Arabia also decried "sabotage" and "terrorism" over a pipeline fire in Bahrain on Friday that temporarily halted oil supplies from its territory.

Bahrain's foreign minister blamed Iran for the fire.

"The attempt to blow up the Saudi-Bahraini pipeline is a dangerous escalation on Iran's part that aims to terrorise citizens and to harm the world oil industry," Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa wrote on Twitter.

Tehran rejected any involvement in the incident.

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In its request for the meeting of Arab foreign ministers, Saudi Arabia referred to the two incidents "in addition to the violations committed by Iran in the Arab region, which undermines security and peace, not only in the Arab region, but around the globe", according to the memo.

Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of a dispute with Qatar, leading a group of nations including Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE in accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. The four countries have imposed a boycott of Qatar since June 5.

Riyadh has for its part been accused of being behind last weekend's resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, which he announced in a televised address from Riyadh.

In his broadcast, Mr Hariri accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hizbollah of taking over Lebanon and destabilising the broader region, saying he feared for his life.

The Arab League has 22 members, but Syria's membership was suspended at the end of 2011 following months of brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations.