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Arabs prepare for Iran Security Council face-off

21 November 2017

"We are required today to confront Iran's policies in order to preserve our national security", al-Jubeir added at the emergency meeting requested by his country.

Saudi Arabia, a Sunni powerhouse, has significantly sharpened its anti-Iran rhetoric since its forces on November 4 intercepted near its capital, Riyadh, a ballistic missile fired by Shiite rebels in Yemen who are allied with the Iranians.

Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, the predominant Shiite power, have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East including in Syria and Yemen.

He also refused to "suggest that the Lebanese government plays a role in terrorist acts", pointing out that "the stance of the permanent representative of Lebanon to the Arab League during the foreign ministers' meeting reflects a strong national determination".

Saudi Arabia, through its foreign minister, asked fellow Arab nations to take a "serious and honest" stand against Iranian "aggression" and "meddling" in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

Aboul Gheit heard Lebanese President Michel Aoun say: "Lebanon is not responsible for Arab or regional conflicts and had never attacked any country". On Saturday, Mr Hariri was in Paris, where he met French president Emmanuel Macron.

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"Saudi Arabia has succeeded through pressure as well as extensive political and propagandistic hue and cry to have a statement that is full of lies and distortions be issued in the name of foreign ministers of the Arab League", Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said Monday, according to Iran's semi-official Press TV.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, said the Iranian-backed Hezbollah is "Iran's biggest arm in the region at the moment" and is in "total control" of Lebanon.

Lebanese president Michel Aoun, a Hizbollah ally, said Lebanon can not accept suggestions that its government is a partner in acts of terrorism. Tehran denies arming the Houthis, and insists that the rebels produced the missile themselves.

Mr Abul Gheit said on Monday that Lebanon should be "spared" from spiralling regional tensions, adding that nobody was accusing Lebanon's government of terrorism or wanted to harm Lebanon.

Since 2015, an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been fighting to defend Yemen's internationally recognized government. I have also reminded him of dozens of decisions issued by the Arab League during summits and ministerial meetings, which confirm the resistance's right to liberate its lands and which support Lebanon in its fight against Israel.

"The Iranian threats have gone beyond all limits and are pushing the region toward a unsafe precipice", Abul Gheit added. Iran's backing for militias such as Hezbollah have helped defeat ISIS, but have also greatly expanded Iran's foothold in the region, incurring the wrath of Saudi Arabia.

Arabs prepare for Iran Security Council face-off