Saudi king denounces Iran's 'terrorist acts' at Islamic summit speech
MECCA — Saudi Arabia's King Salman vehemently denounced Iran over recent attacks targeting the kingdom and the Gulf region.
He described the incidents, in a speech delivered Saturday before Muslim leaders gathered in Mecca, as "subversive terrorist acts".
It was the monarch's strongest words yet since tensions spiked in recent weeks between the two regional heavyweights.
Iran had a representative present at the 57-nation summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) but its top leaders did not attend.
The Islamic summit drew political figures and heads of state from countries spanning Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Speaking to leaders from OIC countries, King Salman opened the summit saying the world must fight the sources and funding of terrorism around the world.
He then said the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in past weeks represents a "grave danger" to the security of maritime traffic and regional security.
He blamed Iranian-backed terrorist militias of being behind a subsequent drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.
"We emphasize that these subversive terrorist acts are aimed not only at the kingdom and the Gulf region, but also on the security of navigation and energy supplies to the world," King Salman said.
Iran denies being involved in the incidents.
King Salman told OIC leaders that the rights of Palestinians remains the cornerstone issue of the organization, which was formed 50 years ago in response to an extremist arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem, one of Islam's most sacred sites.
He said the mosque remains under occupation and threat.
"We reiterate with emphasis the rejection of any measures that infringe upon the legal status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif," King Salman said, referring to east Jerusalem and the mosque compound.
Despite sharp differences between OIC member-states on a gamut of issues, a final statement by the group stressed support for a future Palestinian state, as well as the rejection of any deal or plan that prolongs Israeli occupation and undermines the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The meeting began after midnight and ran into the early hours Saturday due to evening prayers and day-long fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Saudi Arabia's effort to bring leaders to Mecca reflects the kingdom's desire to forge a unified Muslim and Arab position on Iran to isolate it internationally.
The summit followed two emergency Arab meetings the night before in Mecca criticizing Iran's behaviour and influence in countries like Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
(AW with Associated Press)