It’s time for Saudi Arabia to start producing “prosperity” rather than “terrorist organizations and dictators,” Iran’s foreign minister told RT. Javad Zarif went on to accuse Riyadh and the Saudi-led coalition of “basically destroying” Yemen.
Speaking to RT’s Oksana Boyko on the Worlds Apart show, Zarif said that Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia has a history of supporting extremist groups. “We’re not the ones who supported Saddam Hussein, we’re not the ones who supported the Taliban… we’re not the ones who supported ISIS (Islamic State, IS) or Nusra… we’re not the ones who are funding extremism throughout the globe.”
“I think the sooner our Saudi neighbors realize that the snake that they produce, all of the snakes that they have produced in the past 40 years – be it Saddam Hussein, be it the Taliban, be it ISIS – have ended up turning against them,” Zarif said. “Now it’s time for them to start producing flowers, producing development, producing prosperity rather than producing terrorist organizations and dictators.”
Saudi Arabia and Iran have long accused each other of supporting terrorism, with each country denying those claims. Just last month, Riyadh called for sanctions to be placed on Iran, claiming it supports extremism and blaming it for a ballistic-missile attack, which was launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen and intercepted near Riyadh’s airport.
Zarif also addressed Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen, stating that its coalition has been “basically destroying” the country and killing civilians. “Now it’s a common international fact that Saudis have not refrained from even killing babies and elderly in their indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas in Yemen for the past 30 months,” he said.
“We said from the very beginning that Yemen requires a political settlement, not a military settlement. We’re not bombing Yemen, they [Saudi Arabia] are,” Zarif said.
The Iranian foreign minister also addressed the Donald Trump administration, accusing it of “resuming the animosity, the hostility” towards Iran. “Unfortunately the current administration does not use any accepted international behavior in order to deal with Iran, and what you see from Iran is a reaction to this.”
He also addressed the nuclear agreement, negotiated between Iran and six world powers – including the US – under the Barack Obama administration, which has been dubbed the “worst deal ever negotiated” by Trump. The US president has said he can cancel US participation in the agreement “at any time,” and refused to certify Tehran’s compliance with the agreement in October.
However, Zarif said that if the US pulls out of the deal, it will show the world that it is not a reliable party with which to negotiate. “This is an international agreement. If they [US] decide to live by their international commitment, it is in their own interest. If they decide to violate their international agreement, first of all they will show to the world that they are not reliable, that nobody can deal or negotiate or reach an agreement with any US president, because the next president may come and basically violate that deal…
“That is not a good signal that they would be sending to the international community, but if they decide to send that signal, then Iran has its options and options are not limited, and I don’t think those options will be very pleasant for the United States.”