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EghtesadOnline: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and U.S. President Donald Trump took turns launching scathing attacks on Iran, which the Sunni monarch called the “spearhead of global terrorism,” underscoring a common goal in undercutting the Islamic Republic’s regional influence.

The king said on Sunday Saudi Arabia had not witnessed terrorism until the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Instead of accepting good-faith initiatives, Iran has “pursued expansionary ambitions, and criminal practices and the meddling of other countries’ internal affairs,” he said. The kingdom, however, respects the Iranian people and won’t judge them “by the crimes of their regime,” he said.

According to Bloomberg, Trump later singled out Iran as a terror sponsor. Iran’s leaders speak “openly” of mass murder, Trump said in his keynote speech before dozens of Muslim leaders gathered in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. He said the Iranian government gives terrorists “safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment.”

Regional Conflicts

Saudi Arabia and Iran are on the opposite sides of several major regional conflicts from Syria to Yemen, where the kingdom has been leading a coalition since March 2015 against Shiite rebels backed by Tehran. The two countries were close U.S. allies before the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif linked the harsh tone of Trump’s speech to the trade deals the U.S. struck during his visit to the kingdom, including large weapons sales.

“Iran -- fresh from real elections -- attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy and moderation,” Zarif said on Twitter. “Foreign policy or simply milking KSA of $480B?”

Saudi Arabia, largely an absolute monarchy, practices a strict version of Sunni Islam. While some attacks during the 1990s were blamed on Iranian-backed groups, the kingdom has suffered the most at the hands of the militants of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. In 1979, a group of Sunni extremists temporarily seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, in a joint news conference with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday, played down the suggestion that the reelection of Rouhani would help improve ties.

“We want to see deeds, not words,” he said.

Donald Trump King Salman US-Saudi ties Iran-Saudi relationship Iran-US relationship