DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates owed their existence to Iran because it had refused to help former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein invade the two countries, state TV reported.
“Had it not been for Iran’s rational decision back then not to cooperate with Saddam, there would have been no trace of these countries today,” Rouhani said. “They owe their existence today to Iran.”
Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, which resulted in the seven-month-long Iraqi occupation of the country.
“Before invading Saudi neighbour Kuwait, Saddam had told Iran that Iraq and Iran will be sharing 800 kilometres (497 miles) in border in the Persian Gulf,” Rouhani said.
“This shows that Saddam was seeking to occupy Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Emirates, and Qatar in addition to Kuwait.”
Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are involved in proxy wars from Yemen to Syria.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Catherine Evans)