The Latest: Hezbollah: war against Iran to set region ablaze

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf (all times local):

12:35 a.m.

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says the rhetoric and threats of a war against Iran have ebbed because Washington realized that any war against Tehran would spread to engulf the whole region and endanger U.S. interests.

Speaking at a Friday night rally in Beirut, Hassan Nasrallah says President Donald Trump, his administration and intelligence agencies have learned “that a war against Iran will not stop at Iran’s borders.”

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Nasrallah is appeared to the crowd through a large screen in rallies commemorating Quds, or Jerusalem day. He says a war “would mean the whole region will be set ablaze. All US forces and interests in the region will be exterminated and those who conspired (with them) will pay the price; first Israel, then al-Saud” in reference to the ruling family in Saudi Arabia.

Tension has been running high between Iran and the U.S. over the last weeks. Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., is Iran’ strongest ally in the region.

Nasrallah’s comments comes as Saudi Arabia hosts a series of meetings to rally a unified Arab position to further isolate Iran internationally.

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11:30 p.m.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman says Muslim heads of state are gathering in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca for a summit aimed at building the future of our peoples and confronting aggressive threats to stability.

King Salman made the comments on Twitter Friday evening, shortly before a summit of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation was set to begin in Mecca.

The OIC meeting takes places amid a spike in tensions between the Sunni-led kingdom and Shiite-led Iran. Middle Eastern leaders met for separate emergency summits in Mecca late Thursday as Saudi Arabia seeks to project a unified front against Iran.

“We meet in Mecca to build the future of our peoples, to achieve security and stability for our Arab and Islamic countries, and to resolutely confront aggressive threats and subversive activities,” read King Salman’s tweet, which did not directly name Iran, itself a member of the OIC.

Syria is rejecting the final statement of the Arab emergency summit held in Saudi Arabia, which criticizes what it calls Iranian intervention into Syrian affairs.

Syria says the statement is an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Syria.

A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said the Iranian presence is “legitimate because it came at the request of the Syrian government and contributed to support Syria’s efforts in combating terrorism supported by some of the participants in this summit.”

The Syrian statement said the summit should instead condemn the involvement of other countries in Syrian affairs, “which lacked legitimacy and legality” and provided “unlimited support in various forms to terrorist groups and prolonging the crisis in Syria.”

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