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Egyptian Leader Urges De-Escalation Of Tensions Between Saudis, Iran

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (file photo)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said he supports Saudi Arabia in its standoff with Iran, but he does not want to see the tensions turn into an open military confrontation between the two rivals.

"We support our [Saudi] brothers," Sisi said at a meeting with journalists in Sharm el-Sheikh on November 8. But he stressed the importance of de-escalating tensions between the two regional powers.

"I am not for war. We can resolve crises with dialogue," he said. "The region has enough instability and challenges as it is. We don't need any new complications involving Iran or Hizballah," he said, referring to Tehran's ally in Syria and Lebanon.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman this week accused Iran of supplying missiles to Yemen's Huthi rebels, calling such support "direct military aggression by the Iranian regime," which "could be considered an act of war."

He has also accused Hizballah of "declaring war" against the kingdom.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani responded on November 8 with a warning that threats against Iran will achieve nothing.

"You know the might and place of the Islamic republic. Those more powerful than you have not been able to do anything against the Iranian people," Rohani said at a cabinet meeting in Tehran.

"The United States and their allies have mobilized all their capabilities and achieved nothing," he said.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying the Yemeni rebels with missiles that have been used in recent attacks on the kingdom. The United States brought the issue before the UN on November 7.

Iran has denied supplying any missiles to the Shi'ite Huthis, saying that it would have been impossible to do in the face of a Saudi-led air and sea blockade of Yemen's ports.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters