Iran, Saudi Arabia must compromise, resolve Mideast tensions: UN

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Iran and Saudi Arabia should compromise and interact responsibly vis-à-vis the tensions in the Middle East.

“I hope that both Iran and Saudi Arabia, despite mistrust and difficulties, will bring realism, responsibility and compromise to their dealings, and to the region,” Ban said in a speech in the Omani capital of Muscat on Monday.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 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 execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh on January 2.

Nimr’s execution caused international outrage and sparked anti-Saudi demonstrations in many countries.

Several countries, including Pakistan, Russia and China, have voiced readiness to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia to ease up their tensions.

The UN chief also expressed hope that the implementation of a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries and the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran will lead to “increasingly responsible behavior in the region.”

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany started to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on January 16. After JCPOA went into effect, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council and the US were lifted. Iran in return has put some limitations on its nuclear activities. The nuclear agreement was signed on July 14, 2015 following two and a half years of intensive talks.