March 17, 2017 / 2:44 PM / in 8 months

Tehran rejects comments from U.S.-Saudi meeting as 'nonsense': IRNA

ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran dismissed as “nonsense” comments made after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that condemned Tehran’s destabilizing regional influence, state news agency IRNA reported on Friday.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) welcomes Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Mattis and Prince Mohammed, who is the kingdom’s defense minister, met on Thursday and discussed U.S.-Saudi military cooperation in the fight against Islamic State. A statement issued by the Pentagon said they also discussed tackling “Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.”

IRNA cited Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, blaming the Saudi prince for the comments.

“This Saudi official, who is one of the key players in the Saudi war against innocent people in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and other countries in the region ... has made an irrelevant remark out of desperation,” Qasemi was quoted as saying.

Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi‘ite-led Iran back opposing factions in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain.

Qasemi, echoing Iran’s official stance, said Tehran and Riyadh should be able to work together to help end conflicts in the Middle East.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Richard Lough

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