Iran is seeking to establish a regional Muslim alliance that would “defend the Palestinian people.”
Iran is proposing to form a bloc of Muslim countries to fight “terrorism” and boost economic cooperation that would even include its regional rival and arch-enemy, Saudi Arabia.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani told a security conference on Sunday that the two countries, along with Turkey, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, should join together to promote what he termed as “regional peace based on Islam, defending the Palestinian people, fighting terrorism and economic interests.”
Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are bitterly divided and support opposite sides in the civil wars in Syria and Yemen. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in January after Iranian demonstrators stormed Saudi diplomatic facilities to protest the execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric.
Larijani claimed that Saudi Arabia and other nations should know that Iran is not “their enemy.” He said Iran is opposed to “warmongering in Syria and Yemen” and wants to resolve regional conflicts through “national solidarity governments resorting to democratic methods.”
“Iran is not after creating an empire and hegemony in the region,” he said. “Our viewpoint is aimed at improving unity.”
Iran is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assa and sponsors the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon as well as state-sanctioned Iraqi Shiite militias.
In November, 11 Middle East and North African countries accused Iran of sparking tension and instability in the region by sponsoring terrorism and constantly interfering in the internal affairs of Arab nations.
In a letter to the United Nations General Assembly, the 11 countries cited Iran’s support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Shiite Hezbollah group, which has sent fighters to support the Syrian government.
The letter, organized by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was signed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Morocco, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Yemen.
Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a 34-member “Islamic military alliance” against terrorism nearly a year ago, which excluded Iran.
By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.