Iran Says Saudi Arabia Blocked It From Attending Islamic Group Meeting on Trump Plan

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman accuses Saudi Arabia of misusing its position as the host of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting slated for Monday

Arab Israelis wave Palestinian flags as they take part in a rally to express their opposition to the peace plan in the Arab-Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiya in northern Israel, February 1, 2020.
AFP

Saudi Arabia has barred an Iranian delegation from an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Jeddah on Monday where U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan will be discussed, the Iranian foreign ministry said.

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Saudi authorities have not issued visas for the Iranian participants, ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

"The government of Saudi Arabia has prevented the participation of the Iranian delegation in the meeting to examine the 'deal of the century' plan at the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation," Mousavi said, the Fars news agency reported.

Mousavi said Iran has filed a complaint with the OIC and accused Saudi Arabia of misusing its position as the host for the organization's headquarters. There was no immediate comment from Saudi officials.

Iranian officials have condemned Trump's plan for resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestine as a non-starter after it was officially announced last week. The Palestinian leadership has rejected the plan, saying it heavily favours Israel and will deny them a viable independent state.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a proxy war as they vie for influence across the Middle East. They support opposite sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Trump unveiled the long-awaited proposal last week in Washington. It would allow Israel to annex all its West Bank settlements — which the Palestinians and most of the international community view as illegal — as well as the Jordan Valley, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the West Bank.

In return, the Palestinians would be granted statehood in Gaza, scattered chunks of the West Bank and some neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, all linked together by a new network of roads, bridges and tunnels. Israel would control the state’s borders and airspace and maintain overall security authority. Critics of the plan say this would rob Palestinian statehood of any meaning.

The plan would abolish the right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants, a key Palestinian demand. The entire agreement would be contingent on Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other armed groups disarming, something they have always adamantly rejected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.