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Iranian Official: Saudi Arabia Is Israel’s ‘Defense Shield’ In The Middle East

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps believes Saudi Arabia and Israel are partnering up, with Saudi Arabia acting as Israel’s “defense shield” in the Middle East.

Maj. Gen. Ali Jafari gave a speech in Tehran Tuesday calling on Saudi Arabia to cease hostilities against Iran and other states in the Middle East. Jafari believes Saudi Arabia’s moves in the region, particularly in Yemen, are the result of a conspiracy between the Sunni Muslim kingdom and Israel.

“Today, the enemies [Israel] have resorted to proxy wars and using other Muslim world capacities, instead of direct confrontation, against the Islamic Revolution and its example can be seen in what Saudi Arabia is doing,” says Jafari. “Today, the al-Saud [royal family] has turned into a defense shield for the Zionists.”

Jafari’s statement echoes Iranian President Hassan Rouhani whose speech Sunday threatened repercussions should Saudi Arabia continue to frustrate Iran.

“What we want is settlement of the regional issues based on logic but meantime our nation and government doesn’t accept undiplomatic and incorrect behaviors and will give a firm response to certain behaviors, if necessary,” says Rouhani.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif places blame on Saudi Arabia’s alleged funding of terrorism for increased conflict in the region. “Takfiri and extremist thoughts are the main threats to the region and originate from the thoughts and backed up by the financial resources that come from Saudi Arabia.”

Sunni Islamic Saudi Arabia and predominantly Jewish Israel do not currently have any formal diplomatic relations. That being said, there were rumors circulating in late 2013 that Israel and Saudi Arabia forged a secret agreement that would allow Israel to fly through Saudi airspace should the Israel Defense Forces conduct an operation against Iranian nuclear assets. An unnamed diplomatic official claims that Mossad, Israel’s intelligence group, was working hand-in-hand with Saudi Arabia to formulate a contingency plan should diplomatic efforts fail to halt Iran’s nuclear progress.

The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been particularly contentious recently. The Saudis cut all diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this month after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital of Tehran in response to the execution of prominent Shia Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

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