Saudi Arabia needs to stop fueling tension in Mideast, Iran says
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the government of Saudi Arabia must stop measures that only serve to pour fuel on regional tensions in the Middle East.
Speaking during a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, in Tehran on Wednesday, Zarif said the Saudi regime has, over the past two and a half years, moved against measures taken by Iran to contribute to the restoration of peace and unity in the region.
The Iranian foreign minister warned Saudi Arabian officials that any measure that would lead to escalation of tensions and create crises in the region will not benefit its perpetrator.
“We invite all parties to become united in the face of extremism, terrorism, sectarianism, and tribalism,” Zarif noted, adding that measures taken to intensify such factors will backfire on those who take such steps.
Zarif stated that Riyadh worked in line with the Israeli regime’s policy to undermine negotiation between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, adding that the Saudi rulers even cut down oil prices to harm Tehran.
Iran has shown tolerance toward Saudi acts as it believes conflicts in the region will not serve the interests of any side, the Iranian foreign minister said.
Zarif also emphasized that measures aimed at fomenting tension in the terror-hit Middle East region do not stem from the power of those who take them, but are out of pure “weakness.”
Zarif: No justification for Sheikh Nimr’s execution
Elsewhere in his remarks during the press conference, Zarif explained about special regional conditions following the recent execution of senior Saudi Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, adding that he had discussed the issue with his Iraqi counterpart.
He noted that Saudi Arabia’s measure to execute the cleric was by no means justifiable because he was “a person who dedicated his entire life to invite people to Islam through peaceful means, dialogue, and interaction” and took advantage of all civil capacities to oppose recourse to military forces, terrorism and extremism.
“The measure taken against this reformist and scholarly figure is by no means justified and it has been met with hatred and condemnation across the world,” Zarif said.
Attacking foreign missions unacceptable
Elsewhere in his presser, Iran’s top diplomat explained on recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
“What happened on Saturday night in Tehran and Mashhad is not acceptable at all. All officials of the Islamic Republic have condemned these measures in the strongest terms,” he emphasized.
Zarif added that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran considers itself under religious and legal obligation to protect “those guests who are present in Iran as diplomats of foreign countries.”
The Iranian foreign minister said following “regrettable incidents” that happened on Saturday night, the Islamic Republic of Iran will seriously prosecute all people who have broken the law in this regard.
“All necessary measures have been taken to protect diplomatic missions, including the staff of Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad,” Zarif noted.
Jaafari: Iraq condemns Sheikh Nimr’s execution
The Iraqi foreign minister, for his part, condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of Sheikh Nimr, describing him as a person who sought reforms and did not believe in use of arms.
“When I heard the news, I was shocked. I have talked to five or six Arab foreign ministers as well as the secretary general of the Arab League in this regard since yesterday,” Jaafari noted, adding that the goal of his consultation was to calm the situation and find a solution to this problem.
He also praised Tehran-Baghdad ties as very cordial, adding that Iran is no way after creating tension in the region.
The Iraqi foreign minister is expected to meet and confer with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later on Wednesday.