TEHRAN, Iran – One of Iran's top military commanders warned Saudi Arabia on Sunday that it's decision to send forces to Bahrain to quell protests by Shiite Muslims would spark unrest at home, a semiofficial Iranian news agency reported.
Gen. Hasan Firouzabadi, head of Iran's joint chiefs of staff, didn't offer any evidence to back up his claim. But his comments reflected growing tension between Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni-dominated countries in the Gulf like Saudi Arabia.
Iran has repeatedly denounced Gulf leaders for dispatching a Saudi-led military force in March to prop up Bahrain's Sunni monarchy and try to quell the protests by Shiites, who comprise 70 percent of the population but are excluded from key government and security posts.
"Unfair and unIslamic moves will hurt the honor of Muslims in Saudi Arabia, and it will threaten the security of Saudi Arabia," Firouzabadi was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
Firouzabadi, who is known for his anti-Saudi rhetoric, also lashed out at the United States, claiming Washington was behind Riyadh's move into Bahrain so that it could preserve an American naval base there.
"Washington ordered Saudi Arabia as its mercenary to thwart the Bahrainis' popular revolution so that the U.S. can maintain its base," Firouzabadi was reported as saying.
Again, he offered no evidence to back up his claim.
Firouzabadi lashed out at Arab countries on Saturday as well, according to the official IRNA news agency.
"The Arab dictatorial regimes in the Persian Gulf are unable to contain the popular uprisings," he was reported as saying. "The dictators should relinquish power, end their savage crimes and let the people determine their own future instead of ... opening an unworkable front against Iran."