Saudi slams Iran's "playing with the fire" remarks

Says Tehran's interference in GCC violates int'l laws


Saudi Arabia condemned Iran's irresponsible statements which described the kingdom as "playing with the fire" in the Gulf region and urged the kingdom to withdraw its troops from Bahrain, a Saudi senior official said on Friday.

The official said that the Iranian statements have intentionally neglected the fact that Tehran was interfering in the affairs of its neighbours and violating their sovereignty in a way that contradicts with all the international laws and traditions.

"Saudi Arabia knows better than any other country that in the sensitive region of the Persian Gulf, playing with fire is not in its interest," the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign policy committee said in a statement published by the official IRNA news agency on Thursday.

"We demand the withdrawal of foreign troops, which entered Bahrain under the pretext of protecting Bahrain from external threat, and we call on those who have committed crimes against the people of Bahrain to be held accountable," Iraqi MP Ahmed al-Chalabi said at a news conference in Baghdad.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain, a fellow Gulf state and scene of protests led by its Shiite majority, has accused Shiite Iran of meddling in its affairs and elements of the Bahraini opposition of links with Tehran.

The Saudi official added that the Iranians forgot that it wasn't their right to violate the sovereignty of Bahrain by interfering in its affairs or the affairs of any other Gulf state. "Bahrain is free to ask for the help of the Peninsula Shield troops, according to the agreements signed by the GCC states, for the protection of the Bahraini people," he said.

The senior official also referred to the Iranian notorious interference in the Kuwaiti affairs through a number of spy cells.

Gulf Arab countries are concerned over what they see as the ambition of Iran, a non-Arab Shiite Muslim power, to extend its influence in Arab countries mostly under Sunni rule.

(Translated from Arabic by Abeer Tayel)