Iran accuses Gulf Arab states of ‘parroting’ US charges
TEHRAN - Iran on Thursday rejected Gulf Arab leaders' accusation of interfence in their affairs, accusing them of “parroting baseless" US charges against Iran while ignoring US "espionage" against Iran.
"In this statement, some fabricated and undocumented claims made by American officials have been pointed to," the state television website quoted foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying, in reference to US charges of an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
"However, it was expected that the US espionage activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran be condemned," Mehmanparast said.
Earlier this month, Tehran displayed a CIA reconnaissance drone it said it had shot down in Iranian airspace. It later paraded an American-Iranian, it named as Amir Mirzai Hekmati and said was sent to Iran to infiltrate the intelligence ministry.
In a closing statement after its annual summit in Riyadh on Tuesday, the Gulf Cooperation Council called on Iran to "stop interfering in the internal affairs" of its six member states -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Mehmanparast said that Iran "emphasises good neighbourly relations, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations".
"Violent military response to people not only does not solve... problems but will spread instability and insecurity in the region,” he added.
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia deteriorated sharply after Saudi-led troops intervened in Bahrain in March to back a crackdown by the Sunni rulers on a month of pro-democracy protests led by the kingdom's Shiite majority.
They worsened further when US justice officials announced in October that they had foiled what they said was an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.
The GCC also called on Iran to "fully cooperate" with the International Atomic Energy Agency and work to resolve regional conflicts "peacefully," adding that the bloc remained committed to a Middle East "free of weapons of mass destruction."
Mehmanparast "utterly rejected" any concerns regarding Tehran's "peaceful nuclear activities, since they are being conducted within the UN atomic watchdog's framework."
Western governments fear Iran's nuclear programme is cover for a push for a weapons capability, an ambition Tehran denies.