The Iranian Foreign Ministry has dismissed Saudi Arabia’s recent “politically-motivated and unfounded” espionage allegations against Iran, warning that such moves will not benefit any country in the region.
“At a time when the Muslim world and the [Middle East] region require unity and avoiding issues that would cause tensions, forging and spreading false accusations, which are far from the truth will not be in the interests of any regional country,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has not had any activity in Saudi Arabia against the international regulations and diplomatic principles, and such baseless accusations are being made with political objectives,” he added.
The Iranian official made the comments in reaction to earlier media reports that a Saudi court on Tuesday had sentenced 15 people to death for allegedly spying for Iran in a move likely to heighten regional tensions. The convicted defendants comprised one Iranian, one Afghan and 13 Saudis.
Their trial opened in February, a month after tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensified following the kingdom’s execution of prominent religious leader, Nimr al-Nimr, in January.
The most serious charge leveled against these people was high treason.
Qassemi emphasized that Saudi Arabia must refrain from leveling unfounded allegations against Iran in line with its political goals and to fuel tensions in the region.
The Iranian spokesperson said the Saudi regime has given no information to the Islamic Republic about the identity of the Iranian defendant.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s principled policy on the Persian Gulf littoral states is to observe good neighborliness, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” Qassemi reiterated.
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties and halted flights to and from Iran on January 3 following attacks on vacant Saudi diplomatic premises in Tehran and the city of Mashhad by angry people protesting Nimr’s execution.