Iran responded angrily on Thursday to criticisms by Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, accusing him of acts that violate the United Nations Charter and calling his kingdom an instigator of “dangerous ambitions in the region and beyond.”
The Iranian response came in a formal protest letter sent to the United Nations Security Council and to Secretary General António Guterres by Iran’s ambassador, Gholamali Khoshroo.
The latest exchange could further exacerbate tensions between Shiite-led Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, which compete for religious and political influence in the Middle East and stand with opposite sides in the Syria and Yemen conflicts.
Mr. Khoshroo’s two-page letter, shared with news agencies, came two days after Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful deputy crown prince and defense minister of Saudi Arabia, said in a television interview that the Saudis would never talk with the Iranians, slamming the door on the prospect of dialogue between them. He accused Iran of coveting dominance of the Muslim world.
The prince also said in the interview, with a Saudi broadcaster, that “we won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia.”
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