Iran calls for regional unity, hits out at S. Arabia

April 18, 2011 21:07

TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for unity in the Middle East on Monday, a conciliatory message that contrasted starkly with another senior figure who accused Saudi Arabia of "heresy and deception".

Relations between the two major Gulf powers have been strained by anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain which neighbor Saudi Arabia helped put down by sending in troops to bolster Bahraini forces.

At a parade to mark the annual army day, Ahmadinejad said events had shown Washington had failed to dominate the region, where uprisings have taken place against several U.S.-backed governments, and he issued a plea for "honest unity".

"Safety and stability of the region depends on honest unity and cooperation between nations and leaders in the region," Ahmadinejad said in a speech.

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