Iran’s Supreme Leader vowed his regime will help oppressed people in the Middle East region over the weekend, including Palestinians.
Speaking at a meeting of top Iranian leaders and diplomats, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke of the struggle between religion and politics and denounced Saudi Arabia for its role in leading the fight against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The Supreme Leader compared the Saudi’s rule as that to the pagans who ruled over the Arabian Peninsula prior to the advent of Islam in the 7th century.
“Yemen, Bahrain and Palestine are oppressed, and we protect oppressed people as much as we can,” IRNA quoted him as saying. “Those people who bring suffering to Yemini families during sacred months are even worse than the ancient pagans of Mecca.”
Khamenei’s comments came days after US President Barack Obama met with leaders and representatives of the Gulf States in Washington, DC over their concerns of the expanding power and influence of Iran.
Obama expressed his support for the Saudi-led Sunni military coalition against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia has previously accused the Islamic Republic of arming the Houthi rebels, a claim which Iran has denied.
The increasing tensions between Iran and the Gulf nations has raised speculation and concern over shipping routes in the region. In the last month alone, Iranian forces have attempted to twice seize commercial ships to settle legal disputes.
“Security in the Persian Gulf is in the interests of everyone…If it is insecure, it will be insecure for all,” Khamenei warned.