Saudi envoy blasts Rouhani’s ‘dangerous and expansionist rhetoric’

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An Iranian cleric looks at domestically built surface to surface missiles at a military show at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran on Feb. 3, 2019, marking the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed shah. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a ceremony in Tehran on February 11, 2019, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. (Official President website/Handout via REUTERS)
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Iranians visit a weaponry and military equipment exhibition in the capital Tehran on Febraury 2, 2019, organized on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. (AFP / ATTA KENARE)
Updated 14 February 2019

Saudi envoy blasts Rouhani’s ‘dangerous and expansionist rhetoric’

  • Iran's 1979 revolution ushered in a reign of terror and destruction, says Ambassador Khalid bin Salman
  • He also said Iran's regime ought to stop "wasting the Iranian nation’s wealth on funding terrorism and radical militia"

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the US said Thursday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “boast” about Iran’s former territories in the south of the Arabian Gulf only betrays the regime’s hegemonic ambitions.

“Rouhani’s dangerous & expansionist rhetoric is a reminder that this regime has not moderated, and represents the biggest threat to stability in our region,” Prince Khalid bin Salman posted on Twitter.

He referred to the Iranian leader’s speech during Iran’s 40th anniversary celebration on Feb. 11 when he said, “100 years ago, a large part from southern Iran, which today is a few countries in the south of the Gulf, was separated from Iran.” 

Prince Khalid said there’s nothing really to celebrate about Iran’s revolution and the mullah regime ought to stop exporting it.

”40 years ago, the Ayatollah (Ruhollah Khomenei“ landed in Iran and ushered in a reign of terror and destruction,” he said.

“In Iran, living standards declined, infrastructure stalled, and development froze. The regime continues to waste its peoples’ money on deadly adventures abroad,” he added.

“In KSA, the leadership focused on human development rather than funding terrorism, which is why since 1979, KSA GDP per capita increased tenfold, while Iran’s has fallen by more than half. In ’79, the two economies were the same size, today, KSA’s GDP is double that of Iran’s,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have accused Iran of destabilizing its neighbors by supporting dissidents in Gulf states and proxy armies such as the Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi militia in Yemen, and Al-Hashd in Iraq. 

The United Nations had earlier confirmed Iran's role in supplying missiles to Yemen's Houthi militia, some of which have been fired at targets in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has also accused Tehran of harboring international terrorists such as members of the Al-Qaeda. 

“Sadly, it appears that it will continue to waste the Iranian nation’s wealth on funding terrorism and radical militias.” Prince Khalid said.

World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

Updated 06 April 2020

World leaders call for courage as virus death toll nears 70,000

  • Be strong, Pope Francis says
  • US faces ‘Pearl Harbor moment’

JEDDAH: World leaders urged people on Sunday to show courage and strength in fighting the coronavirus pandemic as the global death toll approached 70,000 from more than 1.25 million cases of infection.

Pope Francis described the outbreak as a tragedy, Queen Elizabeth of the UK offered her personal thanks to frontline health workers, and Americans were warned that they faced the “hardest and the saddest week” of their lives.

Saudi Arabia reported five more deaths from the virus, bringing the total to 34. The number of confirmed cases rose by 206 to 2,385, the highest among Gulf Arab states.

The Foreign Ministry will register requests this week from Saudis abroad who want to return home, with priority given to the elderly, pregnant women and people in countries most affected by the pandemic. Those who return are subject to a 14-day quarantine, and about 11,000 hotel rooms have been set aside for them.

The Health Ministry warned that too many people were ignoring advice to stay at home. “Unfortunately, there is still more than 40 percent mobility in shopping and outdoor activities. This is a very alarming percentage,”ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

“We are all in this boat together, and those who risk their own lives by going out for no urgent need are risking everybody else’s lives too.”

The six Gulf states have reported 6,757 cases of infection and 54 deaths from the coronavirus. The UAE, where 1,505 people have been infected and 10 have died, will increase its stockpile of strategic goods and waive residency visa fines for the rest of the year, said the prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

In Rome, on Palm Sunday, a Christian religious festival, Pope Francis celebrated mass by live stream with St.Peter’s Square empty of the usual huge crowds.

“Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: ‘Courage, open your heart to my love’,” he said.

Queen Elizabeth gave a rare special address to the British people, only the fourth in her 68-year reign. She praised frontline health workers and more than 750,000 people who volunteered to help the state-run National Health Service.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge, and those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” she said.

In the US, as the death toll approached 10,000, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said: “This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives … our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.”