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Iran Tells Saudi Arabia Threats Will Fail, Calls For Regional Unity

Iranian President Hassan Rohani accused the United States and Israel of sowing discord in the region in order to pursue their own interests. (file photo)

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has warned Saudi Arabia that threats against Iran will achieve nothing as tensions continue to rise between the regional rivals.

"You know the might and place of the Islamic republic," Rohani said at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on November 8, referring to Saudi Arabia. "Those more powerful than you [Saudi Arabia] have not been able to do anything against the Iranian people."

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

Mainly Shi'ite Iran and predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia are on opposing sides of several conflicts in the region, including in Syria and Yemen.

Rohani instead called for regional unity and claimed Iran was seeking "peace, security, stability, and progress" in the Middle East despite ties to Huthi rebels in Yemen and sending armed forces to Syria.

He said Saudi Arabia had made a "strategic mistake" by considering the United States and Israel as friends and Iran as an enemy.

Rohani accused the United States and Israel of sowing discord in the region in order to pursue their own interests.

"They've been continuously working for their presence and domination of the region so that they can plunder the region's wealth and oil," he said.

Rohani asked, "The question today is 'how does Saudi Arabia benefit from its hostility toward the people in the region?"

He suggested that a thwarted missile attack on Riyadh over the weekend was a reaction to the Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen.

"How should the people of Yemen react to the bombardment of their country? They shouldn't use their arms?" Rohani asked.

"Stop the bombing and then see whether the Yemeni people will show a positive response," he said.

His comments came after Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman accused Iran of supplying missiles to the Huthis, calling such support "direct military aggression by the Iranian regime," which "could be considered an act of war."

Tehran has rejected any involvement in the missile launch.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on November 7 that the Saudis' "insinuations are false, destructive, irresponsible and, above all, provocative."

Instead of aggravating the situation with such "absurd allegations," Qassemi said, the Saudis should seek an end to the violence in Yemen through diplomatic channels.

In his November 8 comments, Rohani also dismissed meddling accusations and said that "brotherhood, friendship, and support" were the only way forward in the region.

"We want progress for Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and even Saudi Arabia," Rohani said.

Rohani also accused the Saudis of interfering in Lebanese politics, as Tehran has charged Riyadh with forcing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign.

Rohani spoke by phone with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on November 7 to discuss Hariri's resignation, which came while he was on a visit to Saudi Arabia.

With reporting by IRNA, Mehr, Reuters, and AFP
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