Gulf Arab states reject Iran "interference"

Iran has objected to the despatch of Saudi Arabia`s troops to Bahrain.

Riyadh: Gulf Arab states voiced deep concern on Sunday over what they called Iranian interference in their affairs after Iran objected to the despatch of Saudi troops to Bahrain and a spying row raised tensions.

A statement issued after a meeting of foreign ministers rejected Iran`s "continuing interference" in the internal affairs of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

"The (foreign affairs ministers meeting) severely condemned Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain which is in violation of international pacts," the statement said.

Shi`ite Iran has criticised Saudi Arabia for sending troops to Bahrain which faces protests by majority Shi`ites against the island state`s Sunni ruling family.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, fearful of Iranian influence and Shi`ite unrest, see Bahrain as posing the biggest threat of all the popular uprisings that have swept the region since January.

The meeting "condemned the baseless accusations in the irresponsible statement of the Iranian Parliament regarding Saudi Arabia and considers it a hostile stand and a provocative interference."

The Iranian Parliament`s national security committee had said in a statement that Saudi Arabia was "playing with fire" by sending troops to Bahrain. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states say the troops were sent under a joint GCC defence agreement.

The meeting also condemned "the blatant Iranian interference in Kuwait through planting spy cells on its territory”.

Kuwait said on Thursday it may expel three Iranian diplomats over the spying row and withdrew its ambassador from Tehran.

Iran has denied the spying allegations and said it did not interfere in Kuwait`s internal affairs.

A Kuwaiti court earlier sentenced three men -- two Iranians and a Kuwaiti -- to death for being part of an alleged Iranian spy ring in a case that has strained relations between Kuwait and Tehran.

Bureau Report

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