Iran proposes formation of Muslim bloc

Iran proposes formation of Muslim bloc

TEHRAN: Iran has proposed formation of a “bloc of Muslim countries” in order to combat terrorism and boost economic cooperation. The bloc’s proposition includes Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia.

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Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani while briefing a security conference on Sunday, said that the two countries, along with Turkey, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, should join hands to promote “regional peace based on Islam, defending the Palestinian people, fighting terrorism and (boosting) economic interests”.

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Iran and Saudi Arabia have a grim history and are bitter rivals. Both the countries support opposite sides in ongoing civil war in Syria and Yemen. Saudi Arabia had cut diplomatic ties with Iran in January after Iranian demonstrators stormed Saudi diplomatic facilities in protest against the execution of a prominent Saudi Shia cleric.