Iran’s Rouhani censures Saudi ‘unwise, hasty and provocative’ actions
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Saudi Arabia’s “unwise” and “provocative” policies will further heighten tensions in the Middle East region.
In a meeting with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari on Wednesday, President Rouhani once again denounced Riyadh’s recent move to execute top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, saying the move was aimed at sowing discord in the region.
“Today, in circumstances under which we need, more than ever, unity and unification among countries to fight terrorism in the region, [such] unwise, hasty and provocative decisions will definitely lead to the escalation of tensions and will be to the detriment of countries in the region,” Rouhani said.
Saudi Arabia announced the execution of Sheikh Nimr and 46 others on Saturday despite international calls for the release of the opposition cleric and other jailed political activists in the kingdom.
Sheikh Nimr was shot by Saudi police and arrested in 2012 in Qatif in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.
He had been charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. He had rejected all the charges as baseless.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on Sunday following demonstrations held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad by angry protesters censuring the Al Saud family for the killing of Nimr. Some people mounted the walls of the consulate in Mashhad while incendiary devices were hurled at the embassy in Tehran. Some 50 people were detained over the transgression.
Stating that the Islamic Republic seeks to reduce differences and strengthen unity in the Muslim world, President Rouhani said that Iran has never acted against the interests of countries in the region.
“The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on establishing good ties with neighbors and strengthening stability and regional cooperation,” said the Iranian president.
Rouhani further said Iran attaches great significance to national unity, territorial integrity and development of Iraq.
The Iraqi foreign minister, for his part, said any tension between countries in the region will hurt unity among Muslim nations.
He called for the establishment of peace and security in the region, saying enemies should not be allowed to fuel tensions in the region.