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US intervention, support for Israel could cause major regional crisis: Iran tells Saudi Arabia

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani (R) meets with Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Tehran Abdullah bin Saud al-Anzi on February 13, 2024.

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani has warned that the United States’ support for Israel in its genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip could lead to a “major crisis” in West Asia.   

Ashtiani made the remarks during a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Iran Abdullah bin Saud al-Anzi in Tehran on Tuesday, as concerns grow about a spillover of Israel's US-backed Gaza war, which has dragged on for more than four months.

“Today's conditions in the region are sensitive and complex,” he said. “The US and Westerners’ intervention and support can complicate the security conditions in the region and cause a major regional crisis.”

The defense minister further condemned the Israeli genocide and war crimes in Gaza, stressing that the Zionist regime has not achieved and will not achieve any of its declared objectives in the besieged Palestinian territory.

“Palestine is the prime issue of the Islamic world and the entire globe. It is necessary for the Muslim countries, especially the important regional states, to act decisively and take a more coordinated stance in this regard to fulfill their religious and humanitarian duty.”

Israel waged its brutal war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out a historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

So far, the usurping regime has killed at least 28,473 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 68,146 others.

Additionally in his remarks, Ashtiani said that Iran and Saudi Arabia, as two Muslim countries and important actors, play an effective role in promotion of  regional security and stability.

He also emphasized that the Islamic Republic seeks development of relations and constructive interaction with regional states.

Regional countries have shared interests and challenges, and thus they should co-exist peacefully and have a common understanding about the issue of security, he added.

Ashtiani further expressed Tehran's full readiness to hold defense and security talks with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region.

Meanwhile, the Iranian defense chief highlighted that Iranian and Saudi armed forces can cooperate with each other in the military, security, intelligence and technical fields.

The Iranian Defense Ministry is prepared to expand defense, military and technical ties with Saudi Arabia, he said, adding that such cooperation will serve the interests of both countries and improve security and stability in the region.

Anzi, for his part, described Iran and Saudi Arabia as two friendly and brotherly countries and underlined the need for boosting bilateral cooperation in different fields, including the defense and technical ones.

Last March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed under a Chinese-brokered deal to restore diplomatic relations severed in 2016.

In a joint statement after signing the pact, Tehran and Riyadh highlighted the need to respect each others’ national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.

They agreed to implement a security cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 and another accord reached in May 1998 to boost economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific, cultural, sports, and youth affairs cooperation.

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