A senior Iranian cleric has dismissed as “false” recent allegations by the Saudi foreign minister that Iran meddles in the internal affairs of regional countries, saying the Persian Gulf monarchy is the source of all problems as it sponsors terrorists in the region.
Addressing worshippers at the weekly Friday Prayers in the Iranian capital, Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami expressed surprise over the allegation by Saud al-Faisal, saying the Saudi regime is attempting to shift the blame for fueling tension in the Middle East to Iran.
He went on to ask, “Doesn’t everybody know that your petrodollars created the ISIL? To whom is it unknown that every act of terror in the Islamic world is carried out with your petrodollars?”
Addressing the Saudi officials, the cleric added, “If you want to know the truth, it is that you are not part of the problem but the whole problem [in the Middle East].”
“Of course, we totally understand why you are upset,” Khatami said, noting that Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars to topple the Syrian government and to achieve its objectives in Iraq but all its plots have failed.
Speaking in a joint press conference with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Monday, Faisal claimed Iran was “part of the problem, not the solution” in the Middle East, alleging that Tehran “cannot play any role in the region” if its policies remain unchanged.
The Saudi foreign minister also accused Iran of having “occupying forces” in Syria despite the fact that Iran has firmly dismissed reports about its military involvement in Syria and Iraq, stressing that Tehran’s support for the two Arab nations is in the form of humanitarian aid and military consultation.
The allegations against Iran come as the Iraqi and Syrian authorities have repeatedly criticized Riyadh and its Persian Gulf Arab allies for fomenting terrorism in their countries.
Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf kingdoms are widely known as being the major sponsors of Takfiri terrorist groups, including ISIL and al-Nusra Front, which are operating in Iraq and Syria.