Camp David Summit a Show of Iranophobia

Camp David Summit a Show of Iranophobia  Camp David Summit a Show of Iranophobia

Iran dismissed this week's Camp David summit between US and Persian Gulf Arab leaders as a show of "Iranophobia" that will have no bearing on either nuclear negotiations or Arab states' ability to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Speaking to the Financial Times in an interview published on Tuesday, Ali Akbar Velayati, the foreign policy adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, said the meeting was a continuation of a longstanding tradition of US backing for Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf partners.

"We don't think the US hesitates in supporting Saudi Arabia. Now the Saudis want to draw the attention of the US to support them more."

The Camp David meeting, he added, would not be productive in any case, particularly as King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia had decided not to attend.

Velayati also lashed out at Saudi Arabia, describing it as an "undemocratic, tribal government" that supported extremists across the Middle East, including the so-called Islamic State (IS) and has been bombarding civilians in Yemen.

US President Barack Obama called for the Camp David summit to reassure Persian Gulf Arab allies that the nuclear talks with Iran, which are fast approaching their end of June deadline, will not lead to an acceptance of Tehran's alleged efforts to dominate the region, nor weaken the United States' traditional alliance with Sunni Arab states.

Velayati said Riyadh had abandoned its traditional attitude and opted for confrontation, adding that any dialogue with the Saudis should be preceded by a change of policy in Riyadh. "They (the Saudis) are trying to fulfill their hegemony," he said.

Riyadh, he insisted, cannot consider Yemen as its backyard. "Yemen is an independent country with an old civilization, much older than Saudi Arabia."

Velayati also said the Saudi campaign in Yemen had been a failure that should not be repeated in Syria. "Iran and Syria have had strategic relations which will continue. We will not stop our support for Syria and Lebanon," he noted. "Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are cooperating very closely."

On a prospective nuclear deal with the major powers, Velayati said, "We think this agreement is very delicate and very sensitive so both sides should be careful and not think we are at the end of the negotiations."

"We're in the middle of the negotiations and their outcome depends on US policy. Sometimes the US promises something and the next day they say something else."

Even if a nuclear deal is struck, Velayati said normalization of relations with the US was not likely. "The US will continue the same old policies."