Iran's parliament speaker in Qatar defends role in region, says Tehran helping blunt IS group

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says that if it wasn't for Iran's assistance to the Iraqi people and government in confronting the extremist Islamic State group, more countries would be threatened by IS terrorism.

Larijani, who met Wednesday with Qatar's emir and the day earlier with Kuwait's ruler, is trying to allay Arab concerns about Iran's role in the region. He spoke during a press conference in the Qatari capital Doha.

Qatar and Kuwait are members of a six-nation bloc of Gulf Arab countries that recently accused Iran of interfering in neighboring Yemen, where a rebel Shiite group has overrun the capital.

In an apparent reference to regional rival Saudi Arabia, Larijani said the crisis in Yemen should not be handled with bias against certain groups, but through dialogue.