No Request from Tehran over Moscow’s Mediation Role in Iran-Saudi Row
A source in the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Tehran has not yet officially asked Moscow to act as a mediator to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia that escalated after the kingdom’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
“We have good relations both with Iran and Saudi Arabia, though we have certain well-known divergence of opinions (with Riyadh) over Syria. Both countries must send a request in order to receive (Russia’s) mediation. As I know, Iran has not filed such a request so far,” the source in the ministry told RIA Novosti.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry had said that Moscow was ready to render any necessary assistance to help Iran and Saudi Arabia resolve their dispute.
The Saudi government on January 3 announced that Riyadh was severing its diplomatic relations with Tehran following angry protests in Tehran at the execution of Sheikh Nimr by Riyadh.
Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in Tehran’s first response that by cutting diplomatic ties, Riyadh could not cover up “its major mistake of executing Sheikh Nimr”.
Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 prisoners, including Sheikh Nimr, drew global condemnation on January 2.
The executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading. The bodies were then hanged from gibbets in the most severe form of punishment available in the kingdom’s law.
Sheikh Nimr had been detained in July 2012 on charges of delivering anti-regime speeches and defending political prisoners.