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Saudi Arabia, UAE donate aid to flood-hit arch-rival Iran

The relief included food and material for shelters [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 April, 2019

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have donated 95 tonnes of aid to their regional arch-rival Iran, following devastating floods that hit the country.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have donated 95 tonnes of aid to their regional arch-rival Iran, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Thursday.

The relief included food and material for shelters and was delivered by the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, following Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s authorisation.

"The Saudi Red Crescent, as part of a joint Saudi-UAE initiative to alleviate the suffering of Iranian citizens, has dispatched a relief plane to Tehran with 95 tonnes of humanitarian aid to support those affected by floods," SPA said.

The Emirates Red Crescent also took part in the aid operation, UAE's official WAM news agency said.

Iran has yet to comment on Saudi Arabia’s and UAE’s relief operation.

Iran has been hit by massive floods since March 19 following heavy rainfall in the normally arid country.

Alternating between the country's north, west and southwest, the floods have caused between $2.2 and $2.6 billion of damages.

Officials said on Sunday that 25 out of Iran's 31 provinces have been affected and more than 14,000 kilometres (8,700 miles) of roads damaged.

Iran has complained that sanctions imposed by US have obstructed relief efforts.

On 1 April, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the United States is impeding aid efforts, accusing it of "economic terrorism."

US sanctions are "impeding aid efforts by #IranianRedcrescent to all communities devastated by unprecedented floods," Zarif tweeted, referring to search and rescue operations being conducted after huge.

Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Shia-dominated Iran have a long-lasting rivalry based as much in geostrategic interests as religious differences.

Facing off across the Gulf, the two major oil producers have taken opposing sides for decades in conflicts across the region.

Riyadh severed its diplomatic relations with Iran in 2016 in protest at the torching of its embassy in Tehran by Iranian protesters, angered by the execution of Shia Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.

The Trump administration has maintained a close relationship with the Saudi leadership, despite increasing opposition over the high civilian toll from the kingdom's military intervention in neighbouring Yemen and the murder of US-based Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

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