saudi king-1640850490793
Saudi King Salman addresses the kingdom's Shura Council from his royal palace in Neom, Saudi Arabia, on December 29, 2021. Image Credit: REUTERS

Cairo: Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz has urged Iran to change its “negative policy and behaviour” and shift to cooperation.

“We are following with grave concern the Iranian regime’s destabilising policy in the region including establishing and supporting sectarian and armed militias, systematic deployment of its military capabilities in the region’s states and its non-cooperation with the international community regarding the nuclear programme and development of the ballistic missile programme,” the Saudi monarch said in an address to the kingdom’s Shura Council.

“We are also following the Iranian regime’s support for the terrorist Al Houthi militia that is prolonging war in Yemen, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis there and threatening security of the kingdom and the region,” he added in the address carried by the official Saudi news agency SPA.

Saudi Arabia is leading a military campaign in Yemen against Iran-aligned Al Houthis in response to a request from the internationally recognised government there that was toppled in late 2014 by the rebels who overran parts of the impoverished country including the capital Sana’a.

In recent months, Al Houthis have stepped up cross-border attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

King Salman called on Al Houthis to “listen to the voice of wisdom and logic”.

He also voiced support to Lebanon that has recently been locked in a diplomatic row with the Gulf countries after a former government minister there claimed Al Houthis were acting in self-defence. The crisis has added to Lebanon’s economic woes.

“The kingdom sides with the brotherly Lebanese people and urges all Lebanese leaderships to give precedence to their people’s interests,” the Saudi king said. He also called for “halting the terrorist Hezbollah’s control of the [Lebanese] state.”

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran and its allied Hezbollah group of involvement in militarily supporting the Yemeni rebels and jeopardising its security.