Yesterday, Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs, Mohammad Momani, said his country would welcome talks with Iran if its officials would stop making verbal assaults against regional countries. He was responding to criticism from an Iranian official on King Abdullah’s comments in the Washington Post.
“The king of Jordan seems to have made a strategic and fundamental mistake in defining terrorism, and the interpretations in his remarks simply show the shallowness of his view on the regional developments,” said Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi. “There is no doubt that a major part of the existing situation in the region is rooted in the mistaken attitude of certain countries’ politicians towards political issues and adoption of wrong and destructive policies which can eventually push the entire region towards insecurity and instability.”
King Abdullah’s remarks included a comment that Iran was involved in “strategic problems” in the region. “There is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah/Lebanon,” said King Abdullah. He also talked about the Israeli settlements, saying that they were playing into Iran’s hands.
“There are some strategic problems that Iran is involved in in our area. But here, again, is an opportunity: bringing Israel and the Arabs closer together. Because of the Iranian regime’s potential threat to the region, Israel wants to have a relationship with the Arabs,” said King Abdullah.
Momani pointed out that Jordan maintains good relations with various countries, but stressed that the government in Amman does not accept Iran’s “flawed” remarks and assaults. He also stated that the kingdom will respond to those statements “as they deserve”.
Jordan has served as a host to hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Syrian war, and is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Daesh extremists across the border and in Iraq. Iran, however, is siding with Russia and Assad by providing money, weapons, military advisers and training, as well as volunteer militias.
In the meantime, Jordan has summoned Iran’s ambassador to Amman to answer for the comments made by Ghasemi and to deliver a strongly worded protest. Jordan’s foreign ministry stated that his comments were “a failed attempt to misrepresent the central role the kingdom plays in supporting regional security and stability and fighting terrorism”.
These comments from Ghasemi are a change from Rouhani’s comments in February, when he stressed the importance of Jordan’s role in finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis.