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Saudi foreign minister asks if Iran can change

Saudi foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said that the world was watching Iran to see if it could change

Published: Updated:

Iran continues to support violent extremist groups which have been responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,100 U.S. troops in Iraq since 2003, Saudi foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, has said in an opinion piece published in the New York Times Tuesday.

Jubeir wrote that world was watching Iran “for signs of change, hoping it will evolve from a rogue revolutionary state into a respectable member of the international community.”

But he added that Iran “rather than confronting the isolation it has created for itself, opts to obscure its dangerous sectarian and expansionist policies, as well as its support for terrorism, by leveling unsubstantiated charges against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

He said that there was what appeared to be signs of change within Iran and he said the GCC nations acknowledged the Islamic Republic’s actions in suspending the expansion of its nuclear program.

The foreign minister explained: “Certainly, we know that a large segment of the Iranian population wants greater openness internally and better relations with neighboring countries and the world. But the government does not.”

He said that since the 1979 revolution Iran’s behavior had been consistent in its continued efforts to expand the revolution.
As a result, he said, “Iran has supported violent extremist groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and sectarian militias in Iraq.

“Iran or its proxies have been blamed for terrorist attacks around the world, including the bombings of the United States Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and the assassinations in the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin in 1992.”

He said that since the 1979 takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, there had been attacks on numerous other embassies, including the British, Danish, Kuwaiti, Saudi and Russian in Iran and abroad by what he called “Iranian proxies.”
Jubeir accused the actions of ‘Iran’s surrogate’ Hezbollah in Lebanon and the war waged against the Syrian opposition as helping the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to flourish.

The minister said that it was in the interest of Iran for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to remain in power. Quoting a 2014 report by the U.S. State Department, he said “Iran views Syria ‘as a crucial causeway to its weapons supply route to Hezbollah.’”

He accused Iran of supporting the Houthi militia takeover of Yemen, which in turn caused the war that has killed thousands.

“Iran is the single-most-belligerent-actor in the region,” he wrote, adding: “and its actions display both a commitment to regional hegemony and a deeply held view that conciliatory gestures signal weakness either on Iran’s part or on the part of its adversaries.”

He explained that Iran had violated the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions by testing a ballistic missile on Oct. 10 and firing a missile in December close to American and French vessels in international waters.

Responding to threats to Saudi security he said: “In an outlandish lie, Iran maligns and offends all Saudis by saying that my nation, home of the two holy mosques, brainwashes people to spread extremism.

“We are not the country designated a state sponsor of terrorism; Iran is.”

And he said that Saudi Arabia had been a victim of terrorism, “often at the hands of Iran’s allies,” while the kingdom continued to fight extremist terror.