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Regional-U.S. United Front in Munich to Confront Iranian Conduct | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al-Jubeir speaking on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference/ Reuters Michaela Rehle

Ankara, Munich – During the closing day of the Munich Security Conference held in Germany on Sunday, several speakers criticized the escalatory role played by Iran in shaking stability in the region.

At the conference, which began three days ago, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said Iran is the biggest terrorism sponsoring country in the world and was playing a destructive regional role.

Al-Jubeir said: “Iran is determined to upend the order in the Middle East… so until and unless Iran changes its behavior it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this.”

The Saudi minister also accused Iran of sponsoring Shi’ites all over the world, and of being part of the problem not of the settlement, neither in Yemen nor in Syria.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also accused Iran of seeking to destabilize the region and of spreading Shi’ism in Syria and Iraq. The minister also criticized Iran’s “sectarian policies aimed at undermining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.”

However, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi dismissed the Turkish Foreign Minister’s accusations.

“Those who have carried out interference, illegal and illegitimate measures, supported terrorist groups and caused bloodshed and escalation of tensions and instability in the region cannot evade liability for such moves by playing a blame game,” Qassemi said on Sunday.

Zarif opened Sunday’s session in Munich with the call for dialogue to address “anxieties” in the region. His calls came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had visited Oman and Kuwait last week to try to improve ties, his first visit to the Gulf States since taking power in 2013.

Asked if Iran’s envisioned regional dialogue could include Israel, Zarif said: “I’m focusing on the Persian Gulf. We have enough problems in this region so we want to start a dialogue with countries we call brothers in Islam.”

Zarif dismissed any hints his country would ever seek to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he and other senators were preparing legislation to further sanction Iran for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“It is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program,” he said.