Iranian Official Blasts Gulf States, Trump Over Qatar: Cutting Ties 'Not a Way to Resolve Crisis'

'Aggression and occupation will have no result but instability,' says Iranian President Rohani's deputy chief of staff

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Hamid Aboutalebi, an Iranian diplomat, who was recently named as Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, speaking in his office in Tehran, Iran.Credit: AP

A senior Iranian official said on Monday the decision by some Gulf Arab states and Egypt to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world. 

Iran – long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move – immediately blamed U.S. President Donald Trump for setting the stage during his recent trip to Riyadh. 

"The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders ... is not a way to resolve crisis ... As I said before, aggression and occupation will have no result but instability," Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rohani, tweeted on Monday. 

Qatar said on Monday it was facing a campaign of lies and fabrications aimed at putting the Gulf Arab state under guardianship, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with it.

"The campaign of incitement is based on lies that had reached the level of complete fabrications," the Qatari foreign ministry said.

It added that as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, it was committed to its charter, respected the sovereignty of other states and did not interfere in their affairs.

Iran saw America pulling the strings.

"What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance," Aboutalebi tweeted in a reference to Trump's recent visit to Saudi Arabia.

Trump and other U.S. officials participated in a traditional sword dance during the trip in which he called on Muslim countries to stand united against Islamist extremists and singled out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Sydney on Monday that the spat would not effect the fight against Islamist militants and that Washington has encouraged its Gulf allies to resolve their differences.

A split between Doha and its closest allies can have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. 

"The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact," the Qatar-based al Jazeera TV quoted the foreign ministry as saying.

Qatar said the decisions would "not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents".

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