Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf today urged Islamic nations to respond to suspected Iranian aggression in the region by “all means of force and firmness”.
His comments came just before the start of a three-day summit – hosted by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah – between 57 foreign ministers of member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
While an Iranian official will be present at the meetings, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will not attend.
Al-Assaf said that members of the OIC should “make more efforts to counter the terrorist acts of extremist and terrorist groups.”
Earlier this month, Saudi oil tankers were among four vessels attacked off the coast of Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, yesterday told reporters during a visit to Abu Dhabi, that the sabotage was caused by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran,” according to Reuters.
Bolton failed to provide proof for this statement, instead saying “who else do you think is doing it? Someone from Nepal?”
The kingdom has also accused Iran of being behind an armed drone attack on Saudi oil pumping stations two days later, after the Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility.
Iran has categorically denied any involvement in the shipping sabotage or the oil station destruction, with the Foreign Ministry releasing a statement yesterday calling Bolton’s accusations “ludicrous”.
The ministry’s press release blamed the string of events on the “B team”, referring to Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed.
Iran believes these officials are responsible for causing heightened military tension in the Arabian Gulf.