Arab League slams Iran's 'provocation'

Organization's deputy says Teheran's interference in Palestinian affairs not justified. (The Media Line)

ahmadinejad 248.88 (photo credit: )
ahmadinejad 248.88
(photo credit: )
The Arab League is warning Iran not to harm the sovereignty or independence of any Arab state. Arab League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmad Bin Hali accused Teheran of issuing provocative statements against Arab states. Arab countries will not allow Iranian influence in Iraq on account of Iraq's sovereignty and stability, he said in an interview with an Egyptian television channel on Saturday. He also said Iran's interference in Palestinian affairs was not justified. Bin Hali's comments follow a diplomatic impasse last month between Iran and Bahrain, after an Iranian official questioned Bahrain's sovereignty. The comments sparked angry responses in the Arab world, and Morocco severed its ties with Iran as a result. Bin Hali also denied reports that Iran was invited to attend the Arab League summit in Doha on March 30. The timing of these comments, ahead of the Arab League summit, could be intended to unite Arab powers, which have recently been divided over the recent IDF operation in Gaza. Syria, Iran and Qatar supported Hamas in the conflict, whereas Egypt and Saudi Arabia took a more muted stance towards the operation and are seen to be on the side of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. The recent spat magnifies Sunni-Shi'ite tensions in the Muslim world, and especially between Sunni countries and Iran. Sunnis are concerned about the prospect of Iran becoming a nuclear power, even though Teheran swears its controversial nuclear program is for the peaceful purpose of creating energy and not, as many Western countries believe, to manufacture nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Russia took Iran's side on Saturday, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was "no proof" that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons. He called on the West to respect Iran and engage with the Islamic Republic. Separately, a Russian official stressed that Moscow would not give up its ties with Iran in order to serve US' policies.