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The National– A senior Saudi official cautioned on Saturday against what he termed appeasement of Iran, saying sectarian goals cannot be allowed to continue to define Tehran’s foreign policy.
Addressing the annual Manama Dialogue in Bahrain, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Jubeir painted the region as facing a choice between good and evil after the September 14 drone attacks on Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities.
The kingdom is not against dialogue with Tehran but deterrence needs to be pursued to prevent Iran from repeating the attacks, he said.
“Appeasement did not work with Hitler. It will not work with the Iranian regime,” Mr Jubeir said.
He said the international community must “extract a price from Iran” for the September 14 attacks, which he said “absolutely clearly” were orchestrated with Iranian weapons and “came from the north and not south”.
“The Iranians cannot be allowed to get away with this,” Mr Al Jubeir said, adding that the kingdom is awaiting the results of an international investigation into the attacks.
Sectarianism spread by Iran is also destructive, Mr Al Jubeir said, adding that Iran is de facto claiming that every Shiite belongs to Iran, which he termed as “ridiculous”.
“It is like Italy saying every Catholic belongs to Italy. Would Germany accept?” he said.
“What we are seeing in region is a vision of light and vision of darkness.”
France’s armed forces minister, speaking at the same conference, warned against the dangers of US disengagement in the Middle East.
Florence Parly said while the Arabian Gulf is “accustomed to the ebb and flow of US involvement,” America has not pushed back against Tehran after a summer of tensions sparked by President Donald Trump withdrawing unilaterally from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
She said: “When the mining of ships went unanswered, a drone got shot (down). When that in turn got unanswered, major oil facilities were bombed. Where does it stop?”
Speaking at the same event, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash called for a region-wide response to the protests across the Middle East by developing “a positive vision” that preserves stability.
“Along with diplomacy we need a positive vision of stability in the wider region as we see many young people take to the streets in Iran Iraq to Lebanon.” Mr Gargash said.