Saudi Arabia’s King Salman opened an emergency summit of Arab leaders in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca on Friday.
King Salman called on the international community to thwart Iran’s behaviors and for “using all means to stop the Iranian regime from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, harboring global and regional terrorist entities and threatening international waterways.”
He added that Saudi Arabia is keen to protect the region from the scourge of war and that its “hand remains extended for peace.”
Saudi Arabia’s effort to draw regional leaders to Mecca reflects the kingdom’s desire to project a unified Muslim and Arab position on Iran.
Tensions have spiked between Tehran and Washington as well, in the past few weeks, with the U.S. sending an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, a day before the summit, on Thursday, during a meeting of foreign ministers of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, had said that, Muslim nations must confront recent attacks blamed on Iran with “all means of force and firmness.”
Al-Assaf said that members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should “make more efforts to counter the terrorist acts of extremist and terrorist groups.”
Earlier this month, Saudi oil tankers were among four vessels attacked off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Iran has categorically denied any involvement in the shipping sabotage or the oil station destruction, with the Foreign Ministry releasing a statement yesterday calling Bolton’s accusations “ludicrous”.