1123 GMT October 19, 2018
“Unfortunately, it seems like France has a one-sided and biased view towards the ongoing crises and humanitarian catastrophes in the Middle East,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday, Press TV reported.
And this view fuels regional conflicts, "whether intentionally or unintentionally,” he added.
The remarks were a direct reaction to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who earlier in the day expressed concern about what he called Iran’s “hegemonic” intentions in the Middle East.
“I’m thinking specifically about Iran’s ballistic program,” Le Drian said during a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir during a trip to Saudi Arabia.
Emphasizing the need for stability and security in the region, Qassemi advised leaders of France and other nations to adopt a “realistic and responsible” approach.
The Iranian official also condemned weapons sales by “trans-regional countries” to Middle Eastern government, saying the deals have only led to “more instability and insecurity” in the region.
Citing Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military aggression against Yemen as an example, Qassemi said the unconditional support had made the Riyadh regime and its regional partners more “insolent” in creating new conflicts.
According to the Control Arms Coalition, France, the world’s fourth weapons exporter, authorized arms licenses worth $18 billion to Saudi Arabia in 2015 -- the year Riyadh launched its military campaign against Yemen -- followed by the United States at $5.9 billion and Britain’s $4 billion.
Le Drian’s visit was an extension of Paris’ role as a self-proclaimed mediator between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, which have come to blows ever since Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s strange resignation during a televised speech from Riyadh earlier this month.
Saudi Arabia’s 'destabilizing' role
Qassemi warned Saudi Arabia against keeping up its rhetorical blame game against Iran and its divisive policies in the region after the Saudi foreign minister once again targeted Iran with a flurry of baseless accusations against the Islamic Republic.
Speaking to Reuters, Jubeir said Thursday that the kingdom’s actions in the Middle East were a response to what he called “Iranian aggression.”
Responding to the allegation, Qassemi highlighted the Saudi regime’s “highly destructive actions” in the region, saying the regime in Riyadh cannot evade its responsibility for such policies by resorting to blame games and political gestures.
Qassemi cautioned Riyadh against maintaining its long-winded rhetoric against Iran as well as its destabilizing and divisive moves in the region.
The countries of the region have seen no positive action on the part of the Saudi government over the recent several years, he added.
The Iranian official further said the kingdom has been violating human rights, trying to sow division among Arab and Muslim countries, repeating and propagating unfounded and baseless claims, and laying economic siege on its neighbors.
Moreover, Qassemi said, Riyadh has been threatening other countries with taking war to their soil, pressuring other countries’ officials to resign and trampling on their dignity, interfering in others’ affairs to bring about destabilization, and trying to sabotage international agreements.
“Such policies send a serious warning to the entire region and the world, and should come to an end as soon as possible,” the official asserted.
Either through direct or proxy wars, Riyadh has been trying to advance its agenda throughout the region over the past years.
Among other measures, it has been bombing Yemen to restore its favorite government there, supporting anti-government terrorists in Syria, helping Bahrain crush dissent, and laying, together with its allies, an embargo on Qatar.