Jordan becomes latest Arab state to recall envoy over Iran 'meddling'

The Jordanian flag in Amman, Jordan, on April 17, 2016.
The Jordanian flag in Amman, Jordan, on April 17, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

AMMAN (AFP, XINHUA) - Jordan on Monday (April 18) summoned its ambassador in Iran for consultations over what Amman said was the Islamic republic's "meddling in Arab affairs," a government spokesman said.

Mohamed Momani, who is also the kingdom's information minister, said Jordan's envoy would return to Amman for "discussions".

In a statement in Arabic on the Jordanian state-owned Petra news website, Jordan cites Iran's interference in the affairs of its neighbouring Arab state of Qatar, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The move comes as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran increase after the Doha gathering of some Opec and non-Opec oil producers on Sunday ended without an agreement to cap oil production.

Saudi Arabia walked out of the meeting after stating it would only consider a production freeze if Iran did too.

Iran, which was not present at the meeting, has consistently said it has no intention of limiting production until exports ramp-up to pre-sanctions levels.

Its oil output has already increased by around 400,000 barrels a day since the lifting of international sanctions, a major contributor to the current low prices.

Iran in January finalised a deal with world powers over its disputed nuclear programme, which saw economic sanctions lifted.

Since the accord, Momani said Iran committed "a series of actions and declarations that constitute unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries and especially Gulf states".

Relations between Iran and Arab nations have deteriorated since a row broke out over the execution of influential cleric and activist Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia in January.

Angry Iranian mobs stormed and set fire to Saudi Arabia's embassy in Teheran and its mission in Mashhad, Iran's second city.

A day later, Saudi Arabia announced it was severing its diplomatic ties with Iran, and asked all Iranian diplomats to leave the country within 48 hours.

Bahrain and Sudan also announced the severance of diplomatic relations with the Islamic republic, citing Tehran's intervention in Arab affairs, which they say became clearer after the execution of al-Nimr.

Momani said Jordan had also asked Iran to "totally cease meddling in Arab affairs," a request that Teheran apparently failed to convince Amman it was willing to carry out.

Jordan and Saudi Arabia share a long border and are both part of the Riyadh-led coalition currently battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.