The conundrum in the Middle East continues to conflagrate as the two bastions of the Muslim World in Iran and Saudi Arabia ratchet-up their rivalry.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorist groups inside Iran, a week after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed attacks in Tehran.
“We have intelligence that Saudi Arabia is actively engaged in promoting terrorist groups operating on the eastern side of Iran in Baluchistan,” Zarif said on Tuesday at a news conference on the sidelines of an annual peace mediation in Oslo.
He said while referring to Pakistan that the assailants are “using the territory of one of our neighbors against its will to launch attacks against Iran which only two months ago led to the murder of nine Iranian border guards,”
This statement comes a week after Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei accused the US and its stooge, Saudi Arabia of stoking violence in the region. “It will not damage our nation’s determination to fight terrorism … but will only increase hatred for the governments of the United States and their stooges in the region like Saudis,” Khamenei said in reference to last week’s attacks in Tehran.
Turkey and Iran have acted in support of Qatar, with the former deploying troops in Doha while the latter is sending in food supplies. On Monday, five planes full of food supplies landed at the Doha airport with Iran planning to send more.
Turkish and Iranian support for Qatar
Tensions between the two countries are at an all-time high and have increased after the attacks on Iran’s parliament and the tomb of the revolutionary Ayatullah Khamenei. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IGRC) accused the Saudi Arabia of the attacks.
The sectarian and political rivalry has impacted the region negatively for a very long time as both countries try to reduce each other’s spheres of influence. Both are at loggerheads in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other countries.
Emboldened by the anti-Iran proclamations in the Riyadh Summit with the outright support of President Trump, Saudi Arabia, and 6 other countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. The tiny Gulf country was blockaded due to its alleged support for terrorist groups and healthy ties with Iran.
The stalemate has resulted in the creation of the nascent alliance, fracturing the already tenuous Middle East equation. Turkey and Iran have acted in support of Qatar, with the former deploying troops in Doha while the latter is sending in food supplies. On Monday, five planes full of food supplies landed at the Doha airport with Iran planning to send more.
The US despite offering mediation earlier have reiterated that Qatar is a sponsor of terrorism. On Tuesday The United States ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith announced that she is resigning from her position.
More trouble between Saudi Arabia and Iran
Iran will also increase its succor to Qatar in form of food aid and air corridor along with Turkey . Saudi Arabia’s move against Qatar has been welcomed by Tel Aviv. However , Iran is said to be improving its ties with Hamas , a point which will stoke further trouble in the region as it meshes with the Qatar crisis
On Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme leader castigated the US for being the incendiary force behind instability in the region. Khamenei called the US as the creator of ISIS and called its fight against the organization as a farce.
“You (the United States) and your agents are the sources of instability in the Middle East…who created Islamic State? America … America’s claim of fighting against Islamic State is a lie,” Khamenei said in a meeting with high-ranking Iranian officials, according to his official website.
Further, he said that Iran has no intent of improving ties with the US. ““The American government is against an independent Iran … They have problems with the existence of the Islamic Republic of Iran…Most of our problems with them cannot be resolved. America is a terrorist country and backs terrorism … therefore, we cannot normalize ties with such country,” he said.
The extreme positions taken by both the US and Iran mean that ties would be at a lower ebb for a foreseeable future. This will strengthen the ever-growing closeness between Washington and Riyadh. The Saudi government will ramp up its anti-Qatar drive fully supported by President Trump. Furthermore, Iran’s intensification of the fight against the ISIS will be resisted and castigated by the Kingdom and the US.
Iran will also increase its succor to Qatar in form of food aid and air corridor along with Turkey. Saudi Arabia’s move against Qatar has been welcomed by Tel Aviv. However, Iran is said to be improving its ties with Hamas, a point which will stoke further trouble in the region as it meshes with the Qatar crisis. The first casualty of this increasing enmity will be the Yemen front where both Iran and KSA are drawn into a conflict with Iran supporting the Houthis rebels.