Iran says Saudi Arabia is the “biggest sponsor of terrorism” in Iraq and elsewhere, dismissing Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir’s allegations that Iran was meddling in regional affairs.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari was reacting on Friday to Jubeir’s “foolish” remarks about Iran’s role in Iraq and the presence of its military advisers, including Qassem Soleimani, the Fars news agency said.
“The presence of Iran’s military advisers in Iraq under the command of General Qassem Soleimani is at the request of the country’s legitimate government in order to fight terrorists and extremists who have beset Iraq and the region with instability and insecurity,” he said.
“To know its interests and its friends and enemies, the Iraqi nation doesn’t need the remarks by the foreign minister of a country which has been the biggest agent and sponsor of instability and terrorism in Iraq, the region and the world,” he added.
“Instead of trying to deceive the public opinion and distort facts, Adel al-Jubeir must not forget that his country is currently perceived at the international level as the first and most dangerous sponsor of terrorism and the spread of insecurity in the world,” Jaberi Ansari added.
Ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been tense since Tehran strongly condemned of the kingdom's execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in January.
Riyadh later severed diplomatic relations with Tehran following attacks on two vacant Saudi missions in Iran by angry protesters.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Russia's readiness to help resolve “specific problems” in ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Moscow enjoys “good ties” with both sides, he said, adding, “We will be ready to use these good relations in order to help create the conditions for a specific conversation on normalization, which can be attained only through direct dialogue of the two sides.”
He made the remarks during Jubeir's visit to Moscow, denouncing “unacceptable” attempts to portray disagreements between Iran and the kingdom as a rift in the Muslim world.
“We know about the existing disagreements that are purely specific in nature, but we also know about the very dangerous attempts to present these disagreements as a reflection of a split in the Muslim world,” Lavrov said.
Moscow, he said, believes that “such attempts to provoke the situation in this sphere are unacceptable."
"It is in the interests of Islam to ensure unity of all its branches,” Lavrov added.