Iran is allegedly behind the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the UAE and a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has called for Arab leaders to take a stand and to confront Iran with all means possible after tensions between the two nations reached fever pitch.
The announcement follows an emergency summit the King called in Mecca for Arab leaders to rise up against Iran following a number of oil related incidents to erupt in the Middle East in recent weeks. Despite King Salman’s speech he said he is committed to preserving peace in the region.
King Salman called on the international community to thwart Iran’s behaviors and for “using all means to stop the Iranian regime from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, harboring global and regional terrorist entities and threatening international waterways.”
According to The Washington Post, the King delivered his controversial remarks after tensions spiked between Tehran and Washington this month, with the US sending an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf.
The Trump administration has taken a hard line with Iran, first withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers last year, then imposing economic sanctions on the country.
Saudi Arabia’s attempt to rouse regional leaders reflects the kingdom’s desire to project a unified Muslim and Arab position on Iran.
However, there were signs of tension and disagreement among the Arab officials gathered at the meetings, which began just before midnight on Thursday and ran into the early hours of Friday morning.
Morocco did not send its king amid a cooling of ties with Saudi Arabia, while Qatar sent its prime minister rather than its ruling emir amid a diplomatic standoff with Arab neighbors. Iraq also rejected the Arab League’s final statement after the summit and was not a signatory to it.
However, all condemned the alleged sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the UAE and a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline earlier this month.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming Yemeni rebels behind the pipeline attack. Iran denies being involved in the incidents.
A second summit is expected in Mecca on Friday, focusing on Palestinian statehood and independence. It will bring together leaders from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani attended the Mecca summits, marking the highest-level visit to Saudi Arabia by a Qatari official since the 2017 rift erupted.