ANKARA (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States will further destabilize the Middle East, a senior official said, adding that Tehran will continue its presence in the region despite Washington’s pressure to limit its influence.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met Saudi King Salman in Riyadh on a flying visit to the region, said on Sunday that the United States was deeply concerned by Iran’s “destabilizing and malign activities” in the Middle East.
“The cooperation between America and Saudi Arabia will further destabilize the Middle East and will lead to more crisis in the region,” Iranian state TV quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.
“Pompeo’s remarks about Iran are baseless and repetitive … As long as the legitimate governments of the regional countries need our help, Iran will remain in those countries.”
On his visit to Riyadh, Pompeo reassured Iran’s key regional rival Saudi Arabia that the United States would exit Iran’s 2015 multinational nuclear deal, unless European signatories of the accord “fix” it.
U.S. President Donald Trump has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” of the 2015 nuclear deal, or he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran.
Under Iran’s settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be put to developing atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Alison Williams, Editing by William Maclean