The United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash has hit out at comments made by an Iranian television channel about the GCC’s operations in Yemen.
Al Alam TV reported that the countries participating in the Saudi-led coalition conducting air strikes in Yemen suffered substantial damage, inflicted upon them by the Houthi rebels.
News reports that appeared also claimed that the Shi’ite rebel group had seized a number of the UAE’s military vehicles in Yemen.
In a series of tweets, Gargash said that the report “only represents an independent vilified voice” and said that the insults were a source of pride for the UAE as it comes from a section of media that “promotes sectarian agenda”. He added that such statements also indicated that the coalition’s actions are effective.
“The accusations by Al Alam Channel [against the UAE] are not logical at all and are shrouded in sectarianism. However, they seem to reflect the deep pain suffered from the Arab cohesion and the success that we are achieving together in Yemen,” he tweeted.
Gargash also called attention to another statement by the adviser to the Iranian leader and head of Centre for Strategic Research of Iran’s Expediency Council Ali Akbar Velayati that accused Gulf Arab countries of supporting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“Unfortunately, Iran is now in the stage of distributing accusations. He should have explained the intervention of Tehran against the people of Syria and its attempts to undermine stability in Bahrain and Yemen as well its support for the marginalisation of Sunnis in Iraq. This is blatant interference in the domestic affairs of the Arabs.”
Gargash said that Iran’s reference to Gulf states as perpetrators of terrorism did not take into account the acts by the Shi’ite group Hezbollah.
Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Gulf Arab states have historically had a hostile relationship, mainly due to ideological differences.
Iran’s recent nuclear agreement with six world powers further exacerbated the tensions as the GCC thinks that the deal would provide Tehran more resources to support Shi’ite groups and cause sectarian rife across the region.
Such concerns have mounted after a huge arms cache- allegedly funded by Hezbollah- was discovered in Kuwait. In another incident, Bahrain’s security forces foiled an arms smuggling attempt across its borders by people with close ties to Iran.