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Saudi Arabia blocked Iran from participating in OIC meeting, says ministry  

February 3, 2020 at 5:43 am

Participants pose for a photo during the extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey on 13 December 2017 [Arif Hüdaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia has prevented an Iranian delegation from participating in an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Monday, where the US Middle East peace plan was would be discussed, the Iranian foreign ministry announced yesterday.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Abbas Mousavi, told official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that the Saudi authorities had refused to issue visas for the Iranian participants despite the fact that the delegation was invited by the OIC secretary-general, Yusuf Bin Ahmed Al Uthaymeen.

“The government of Saudi Arabia has prevented the participation of the Iranian delegation in the meeting to examine the ‘deal of the century’ plan at the headquarters of the OIC,” Mousavi said, adding that Tehran had filed a complaint against Riyadh over “misusing its position as the host country for the OIC headquarters.”

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The Iranian official pointed out that many countries were accusing Saudi Arabia of “exploiting its host for the OIC to seek its own political interests.”

He reiterated that Riyadh was “hindering the OIC from carrying out its major activities,” stressing that the continuation of Saudi Arabia’s host to the organisation’s headquarters had become “doubtful.”

There was no immediate comment from the Saudi authorities.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been locked in a proxy war as they vie for influence across the Middle East. They support opposite sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Founded in 1969, the OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations (UN), with 57 country members from four different continents.

The US plan, known as “Deal of the Century,” was announced on Tuesday by the US President Donald Trump at a press conference in Washington in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with no Palestinians present.

The United Nations (UN) has rejected the deal, saying it is not based on UN guidelines but is an imposition of Trump’s own vision of a two-state solution. The deal was also rejected by all Palestinian parties, Iranian officials and Turkey.

On Saturday, the Arab League (AL) announced during an emergency meeting that it was rejected the plan, describing it as “does not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.”