Rhetoric, Anger Mount in Diplomatic Standoff in the Gulf

A plea by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Gulf states to tone down their rhetoric in a rapidly escalating diplomatic standoff involving Qatar, Saudi Arabia and three Saudi allies appears to be falling on deaf ears.

Bahrain, one of the Saudi allies, has accused Qatar of creating a military escalation in the deepening dispute by letting in more Turkish troops.

And Iran angered the Saudi-allied group by saying that a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar is “unacceptable.” Tehran pledged to keep Iranian air space and sea routes open for Qatar to weather the blockade imposed on the tiny emirate by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

In a phone call late Sunday with the Qatari emir, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told him, “Tehran will stand by Qatar’s government,” according to a statement released by Iran’s Foreign Ministry. “Iran’s air space, ground and sea will always be open to Qatar as a … friendly nation,” said Rouhani, adding the cooperation between the two countries will remain “continuous.”

Source: Voice of America

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