US and France agree on need to counter Iran influence in Middle East
US president Donald Trump spoke with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, about the situation in Lebanon and Syria on Saturday
The United States and France agreed on the need to work with allies to counter the “destabilising” activities of Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hizbollah, in the Middle East.
US president Donald Trump spoke with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, about the situation in Lebanon and Syria, said a White House statement on Saturday.
“Both presidents agreed on the need to work with allies to counter Hizbollah’s and Iran’s destabilising activities in the region,” it said.
Paris has intensified its rhetoric over Tehran’s regional activities. On Thursday, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, denounced Iran’s “hegemonic intentions”.
Iran responded by accusing France of taking sides and Mr Maron on Friday said Iran should clarify its ballistic missile programme. That was met by a rebuke in Tehran.
On Saturday, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader, said Mr Macron should stay out of its affairs.
The foreign minister of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain will meet Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo on Sunday prior to an urgent session of the organisation.
Saudi Arabia this week called for an urgent gathering of Arab foreign ministers to discuss Iranian actions in the region. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of providing Yemen’s Houthi rebels with missiles that have been used in attacks against the kingdom.
This also comes after Saad Hariri resigned as Lebanese prime minister from Riyadh, criticising Tehran’s influence in his country.
Updated: November 19, 2017 11:20 AM