Iran rejects Gulf states interference claim

Iran on Wednesday rejected as "baseless" allegations by Gulf Arab states that Tehran is interfering in their internal affairs, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Shifting the regional states' responsibility in regards to their domestic problems is to escape realities on the ground," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying.

His comments came a day after the six Gulf Cooperation Council states -- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates-- in a joint statement, said they "reject and denounce" Iran's "continued interference" in their internal affairs.

The GCC statement added that Tehran must "immediately and completely stop these actions and policies that increase regional tension and threaten security and stability".

Relations between the Shiite-dominated Iran and most Sunni-ruled GCC states have been strained since Gulf troops rolled into Bahrain last year to help put down Shiite-led protests.

"Attributing these problems to outside (countries) or using oppressive methods are not a correct way of responding to popular demands," Mehmanparast said, referring to the events in the Sunni-ruled but Shiite-majority Bahrain.

The GCC had in its Tuesday statement also condemned Iran's "continued occupation of the three Gulf islands" of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates since 1970s.

Mehmanparast said the UAE's sovereignty over the islands was a "baseless claim" and stressed that the three islands are an "inseparable part of Iran".

The petro-Gulf-Arab states also expressed concern that any accident at Iran's nuclear plant located at the Gulf port city of Bushehr would spread radiation throughout the region.

In reply, Mehmanparast said the power plant has been built to "high-level international standards."

Iran is at odds with the United States and its allies, which accuse the Islamic state of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its atomic work is solely geared for peaceful purposes.

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