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 Rouhani: Saudi tensions with Iran ‘to cover up defeats’

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has accused Saudi Arabia of stoking tensions with his country to distract from its own problems. In an interview with Iranian television on Tuesday, the Iranian leader said his country’s relations had improved with neighbouring states, such as Turkey and Pakistan, but that Saudi Arabia was an exception. “Saudi Arabia is looking for tension with Iran to cover up defeats in the region and internal problems,” Rouhani said, blaming Riyadh for the poor state of relations between the two regional powers. “The second reason is the situation inside Saudi Arabia, the situation is tense and there are internal disputes, so they portray Iran as an enemy to cover up their failure and their internal problems.” Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming Houthi rebels in Yemen and blamed it for a missile attack north of its capital earlier in November. Iran rejects the accusation of involvement in the attack. The Saudis were also opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, which saw Iran reduce its nuclear enrichment capability in return for limited sanctions relief from the EU and the US.

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