US-Iran tensions: Saudi Arabia calls urgent Gulf, Arab League meetings in Mecca

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 19 May 2019, 10:47 AM
Amid mounting tensions between the US and Iran, Saudi Arabia has called for urgent meetings of the regional Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League
Amid mounting tensions between the US and Iran, Saudi Arabia has called for urgent meetings of the regional Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League

Amid mounting tensions between the US and Iran, Saudi Arabia has called for urgent meetings of the regional Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League. King Salman has invited Gulf leaders and Arab states to two emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss recent "aggressions and their consequences" in the region. This came after US deployed an aircraft carrier and bombers to the region over alleged threats from Iran.

Despite international scepticism, the US government has been pointing to increasing threats from Iran, a long-time enemy and also a rival of US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal last year and reinstated sanctions on Tehran that are crippling its economy.

Tensions rose dramatically May 5, when Bolton announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group would be rushed from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf ahead of schedule in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings," without going into details.

Since then, four oil tankers, including two belonging to Saudi Arabia, were targeted in an apparent act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, according to officials in the region, and a Saudi pipeline was attacked by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from Yemen. 

The US also ordered non-essential staff out of Iraq and has dispatched additional military assets to the region.

However, President Donald Trump had said that he hopes the US is not on a path to war with Iran. Asked if the US was going to war with Iran, the president replied, "I hope not" a day after he repeated a desire for dialogue, tweeting, "I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon."

First Published: Sunday, May 19, 2019 07:35 AM
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