Saudi King Salman urges world to take ‘decisive stance’ against Iran

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz gives virtual speech during the first session of Shura council, from his palace in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, November 11, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz urged the world to take “a decisive stance” to address efforts by Iran to develop nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are locked in a decades-long struggle for influence across the region, supporting opposing sides in conflicts from Syria to Yemen.

“The kingdom stresses the dangers of Iran’s regional project, its interference in other countries, its fostering of terrorism, its fanning the flames of sectarianism and calls for a decisive stance from the international community against Iran that guarantees a drastic handling of its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction and develop its ballistic missiles programme,” the king said in an annual address to the top government advisory body on Thursday.

They were the 84-year-old ruler’s first public remarks since he addressed the U.N. General Assembly in September via videolink, where he also took aim at Iran.

Tensions have risen in the region since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with world power in 2018 and reimposed stringent economic sanctions on Iran.

Saudi Arabia was an enthusiastic backer of Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said he would return to a 2015 nuclear pact between world powers and Iran, a deal negotiated when Biden was vice president in Barack Obama’s administration.

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