January 16, 2018 / 6:19 PM / 4 months ago

Iran's leader accuses Saudis of 'treason' against Muslims

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran’s supreme leader accused Saudi rulers on Tuesday of committing “treason” against Muslims by aligning themselves with the United States and Israel.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures as he speaks, Iran, January 9, 2018. Leader.ir/Handout via REUTERS

Addressing parliamentary representatives from Islamic countries gathered in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “a big mistake” and “doomed to failure”.

“Regional governments that are cooperating with the United States and the Zionist regime to fight against Muslims are certainly committing treason. That is what Saudi Arabia is doing,” Khamenei said, according to his official website.

Iran, the leading Shi’ite Muslim power, and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, are rivals for influence in the Middle East where they support opposing sides in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on a visit to Jerusalem last year that shared concern about Iran was driving many Arab states closer to Israel. An Israeli cabinet minister said in November that Israel had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran.

Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and has repeatedly called for its destruction.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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