Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Saturday that Saudi Arabia is aiming to create unrest in Lebanon after doing so in the Gulf region and Yemen.
In comments carried by the IRNA state news agency, Bahram Qasemi said that the kingdom is trying to destabilize the region.
Saudi Arabia blames Tehran for backing militant groups throughout the Middle East and has recently vowed to fight them on top of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.
Qasemi’s comments came amid a crisis in Lebanon triggered by Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation in the Saudi capital of Riyadh last week.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting proxy wars in the region from Syria to Yemen. Iran is a predominantly Shiite nation while Saudi Arabia is a Sunni powerhouse.The spokesman said Riyadh is “after creating unrest in Lebanon.”
On Wednesday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted Saudi Arabia over what he called “unprecedented” interference in Lebanese affairs and added his voice to those who suspect the Gulf kingdom forced Lebanon’s prime minister to resign.
Rouhani’s remarks followed a phone call to his Lebanese counterpart the previous day, in which the Iranian president pledged Tehran’s support for Lebanon’s stability following Hariri’s resignation.
Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, told Lebanese politicians that Hariri’s resignation will not be accepted until he hears from him directly.
Hariri unexpectedly announced he was resigning on Saturday and accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs and the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage. Hezbollah has members in the Lebanese unity government that Hariri formed last year.
Casting himself as the voice of reason, Rouhani also questioned the benefits of Saudi Arabia’s “hostility toward the peoples of the region” and urged the kingdom to choose “friendship” instead.
“You are making a mistake if you think Iran is not your friend and the US and Israel are your friends,” Rouhani also said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency. “This is a strategic miscalculation.”