Arab League condemns Saudi embassy attack

The Arab League closing statement condemned the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran

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Arab League foreign ministers agreed at an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday to condemn the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran and accused the Tehran government of failing to protect them.

In a closing statement distributed after the meeting, the Arab League also condemned the reported discovery by Bahrain of a militant group that it said was backed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

All members of the Arab League voted in favor of the statement, with the exception of Lebanon, where Iranian-backed Hezbollah is a powerful political force.

The statement did not agree on any specific joint measures against Iran but set up a smaller committee to keep up discussions of the crisis and consult on possible future actions.

Top Arab diplomats gathered earlier in the day in Cairo for emergency talks to discuss tensions with Iran after attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions there.

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir accused Iran of interfering in Arab affairs and undermining regional security.

Speaking of the attacks on Saudi's dimplomatic missions in Tehran, Jubeir said: "These attacks clearly reflect the approach that the Iranian policy is taking in our Arab region specifically ... with its interference in the affairs of the (region's) states and instigation of sectarian strife and shaking its security and stability."

Jubeir also said the cutting of diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran was a first step and it could take more action if Tehran does not change its policies, but did not expect the dispute to affect efforts to end the war in Syria.

The Saudi diplomat said his country would discuss any potential further actions against Iran with its regional and international allies but gave no details on what those measures might involve.

Jubeir said some countries had offered to mediate but that required Iran to be serious about the efforts.

"With regards to mediation, there are some states that have expressed their readiness to conduct this, but the important thing is seriousness with regards to the Iranian position," he said.

Other Arab countries have recalled envoys to Iran and the United Arab Emirates downgraded relations in solidarity with Saudi Arabia.

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan accused Iran of intentionally failing to protect Saudi diplomatic posts.

Al Nahyan said the attack "took place under the nose and within the earshot of security forces." He also reaffirmed the United Arab Emirates’ support for all Saudi efforts to protect its sovereignty."

Iran has to decide what kind of neighbour it wants to be: a good neighbour or a chaotic neighbour and so far it behaves like the latter," al-Nahyan said.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi accused Tehran of "provocative acts" and called on Arab states to take a "clear stance" against Iran's meddling in Arab affairs.

The crisis between Saudi Arabia and Iran erupted when the Saudi kingdom executed Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2.

In Iran, protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, prompting Riyadh to sever relations. Tehran cut all commercial ties with Riyadh, and banned pilgrims from traveling to Makkah.

(with Reuters and AFP)