In one of his harshest attacks yet on Iran, King Salman of Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of supporting "terrorist militias" that he said were a threat to global oil supplies and regional security.
The king, speaking on June 1 at a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, described a recent attack on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and an armed drone assault on Saudi pipeline facilities as "terrorist acts."
"We confirm that these subversive terrorist acts are aimed not only at the kingdom and the [Persian] Gulf region, but also on the security of navigation and energy supplies to the world," the king told the gathering.
He said the drone attack on the pipeline was carried by Huthi rebels in Yemen, which he described as a "terrorist militia backed by Iran."
Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States, is an archrival of Shi’ite-majority Iran and competes for influence in the region.
In recent weeks, tensions have risen in and around the Strait of Hormuz, a key petroleum shipping route at the mouth of the Persian Gulf that Iran has threatened to block.
Earlier this month, Washington announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group and a bomber task force to the Gulf to counter what U.S. officials called "clear indications" of threats from Iran to U.S. interests or its allies in the region.
Iran, which had a representative at the Islamic summit, has denied any involvement in the recent attacks.
"Saudi Arabia has used the holy month of Ramadan and the holy city of Mecca for political gain in order to put to the world baseless claims against Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told Iran’s ISNA news agency.
On May 30, King Salman told an emergency summit of Arab leaders in Mecca that the international community must use “all means to stop the Iranian regime from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.”
The king accused Iran of “harboring global and regional terrorist entities and threatening international waterways."
Saudi Arabia had called for the emergency summit to help project a unified position by Muslim and Arab nations against Iran.
Iraq, which has strong ties to both Iran and the United States, objected to the hard line taken against Tehran, saying that the security and stability of Iran was "in the interest of Muslim and Arab states."
With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters