Saudi Arabia ‘supports terrorism, seeks destructive regional policies’ – Iran’s Foreign Ministry

Saudi Arabia ‘supports terrorism, seeks destructive regional policies’ – Iran’s Foreign Ministry
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism and of seeking confrontational policies in the region. He was responding to comments by the Saudi deputy crown prince who earlier ruled out dialogue with Tehran.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, the kingdom’s defense minister, said it was impossible to mend relations between his country and Iran due to Tehran’s “extremist ideology” and ambitions to “control the Islamic world,” he said in an interview with MBC television, broadcasted by Saudi media.

“How can I come to an understanding with someone, or a regime, that has an anchoring belief built on an extremist ideology? What are the interests between us? How can I come to an understanding with this?” he said, according to AP.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said that such remarks showed that the Saudi authorities lacked an understanding of regional issues and intended to seek “confrontational and destructive policies.”

“These comments are proof that Saudi Arabia supports terrorism and seeks confrontational and destructive policies in the region and towards Iran,” Qasemi was quoted as saying by state media, Reuters reported.

“While Western Asia is filled with tension and needs cooperation and understanding among countries, making such comments is a strategic mistake and lacks political sensibility,” Qasemi said.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh.

After that, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister accused Iran of setting up “terrorist cells” inside the kingdom. Iran responded with a warning that “divine vengeance” would come to Saudi Arabia as a punishment for Nimr’s execution as well as for Riyadh’s bombings in Yemen and support for the Bahraini government.

In February, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while on a visit in Kuwait, a Saudi ally, said that Tehran would like to restore relations and improve ties with all its Gulf Arab neighbors.

 Didier Reynders 23bb7

7sur7 accessed to emails of Belgium foreign ministry confirming the deliberate and conscious decision of the administration to vote for Saudi’s seat in U.N. commission despite its lack of respect for women’s rights in the Kingdom as reported by UN Watch.


Dr. Gundry reveals the top 3 common foods that you would have never guessed were the cause of your fatigue.

At least nine hours passed between the time when the cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed of the request of a vote at the United Nations Commission for Women’s Rights and the time when it was answered, as confirmed Friday by the Ecologists’ party, based on internal emails.

According to the Green Party, the Belgian delegation to the United Nations in New York informed the cabinet of Didier Reynders on April 9 at 12:33 a.m. of the request for a vote from the United Nations about the entry of Saudi Arabia into the commission. The response was sent at 3:34 p.m. Uncertainty remains about the way the time delay should be considered, but at the very least, nine hours had passed.

“This gives a false image of the foreign office”

According to these documents, the cabinet’s reply, written in the first person, mentions the following elements. The “clean slate” procedures should be followed and Belgium should therefore provide its support to the candidates for the various positions during the secret vote. Furthermore, the delegation was requested to inform the various candidates, including Saudi Arabia, of this support if possible.

According to the minutes from a meeting that took place at the foreign office yesterday (see the tweet from Kristof Calvo below), the administration complained about the communication about this affair and implied that Reynders was indeed aware of it. “Some press information insinuates that our Permanent Mission in New York may have acted on its own initiative, and that the Ministry may have not been aware of it. This give a false image of the foreign office as a completely uncontrolled organization.”

Reynders maintains, “I was not aware”

Questioned Friday after the council of ministers, before this information came to light, Mr. Reynders indicates that three hours had passed and that it was not personally aware of this request for a vote.

“My cabinet and the delegation on site followed the usual procedure. I was not aware of it,” he said.

“What we fear since the revelation of this affair has turned out to be true. The cabinet of Didier Reynders gave the green light to a shameless vote, scorning women’s rights, with the aim of getting in the good books of a notoriously no-go country in order to facilitate the election of Belgium to the UN Security Council. Who is responsible for this decision? The Minister of Foreign Affairs himself,” accused Deputy Benoît Hellings.

Questioned Wednesday at the Chamber Committee, the minister indicated that he was not aware of the American request for a vote, “but saw that it was possible for our department to vote” before indicating the next day that he was not “personally aware of the voting procedure underway” but that “the departments and partners of Foreign Affairs applied the procedure in a very professional manner.” At the plenary session, Prime Minister Charles Michel spoke of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not the minister’s cabinet.

“Our diplomats applied formal orders and must not be used as a fuse to cover their minister,” said Deputy Jean-Marc Nollet, who asked the Prime Minister to clarify his position. “Either Didier Reynders misled him, or Charles Michel was hiding something from the deputies.”

The Belium support for Saudi Arabi is in contradiction with the reports of security and intelligence centers of the country. On February Belgium voiced concerns over the spread of Saudi-backed Wahhabism throughout the country and the rest of Europe. According to a report by De Standaard, the country’s OCAM national crisis center stressed that Wahhabism is being preached in an increasing number of the country’s mosques receiving financial support from Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudi authorities and the Wahhabist establishment have clearly settled on this method to reinforce the influence of the doctrine and practice of Wahhabism in Muslim communities in Europe,” it stressed.

According to officials, Belgium has the highest amount of extremists leaving the country and joining terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq in proportion to is population.

*(Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium speaks during the High Level Segment of the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council. 28 february 2017. Image credit: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré/ flickr.)


NATO returning to ‘historic role as war fighting command’ to counter Russia – top US general

NATO returning to ‘historic role as war fighting command’ to counter Russia – top US general
The commander of NATO and US forces in Europe has called for yet more armored vehicles and troops to be deployed on the continent to counter what he calls “a resurgent Russia.”

Testifying before a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, head of United States European Command (EUCOM) – in charge of all US forces in Europe, as well as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander – accused Russia of threatening regional and global security.

“Today we face the most dynamic European strategic environment in recent history,” he said in his testimony. “In the east, a resurgent Russia had turned from partner to antagonist as it seeks to undermine the Western-led international order and reassert itself as a global power.”

“Accordingly, we are adjusting our plans, our posture, our readiness to remain relevant to combat the threats we face,” he added. “In short, we are returning to our historic role as a war fighting command.”

Two American combat brigades are permanently stationed in Europe: the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany and the 173rd Airborne in Italy, which make up around 10,000 of the 60,000-strong American troop presence in Europe. Scaparrotti says more troops are needed – specifically more armored and infantry divisions to counter Russia’s western flank, as well “enablers” like engineers, aviation and fire support staff for the European Reassurance Initiative.

“Russia’s posture is not a light force, it’s a heavy force,” he continued.

“In order to have the posture that is both credible and of the right composition, we need more armored forces… to make sure that we do have a force of enough size that enables us to deter Russia.”

“Five or six years ago, we weren’t concerned about being ready [to fight] today,” Scaparrotti added. “That has changed.”

During the Senate hearing, Scaparrotti also called for more funding to improve local capabilities for infrastructure capable of moving and housing troops.

The European Reassurance Initiative was launched in 2014 in the wake of the political crisis in Ukraine and the perceived Russian intervention there, leading to the most vocal members of NATO – Poland and the Baltic states – claiming that they would be Moscow’s next target. This prompted leading members of the alliance to agree on troop deployments. In March, 800 British soldiers began arriving in Estonia, while Germany sent troops and tanks to Lithuania. Earlier in April, 1,350 NATO soldiers arrived in northeastern Poland in line with the planned buildup.

READ MORE: Risk of nuclear weapons use at all-time high since Cold War – UN study

Russia has consistently criticized the NATO buildup on its doorstep, describing it as a threat to regional security.

“We deplore that deployment, for it raises tensions in Europe along the border between NATO and Russia. Russia doesn’t pose any threat to Estonia nor any other NATO member state,” Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko recently told the Daily Mail.

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