Iran has dismissed the “untrue” claims raised by a Saudi official about Tehran’s refusal to issue visa for a Saudi delegation who intended to visit their diplomatic sites in Iran.
“Visas for a Saudi delegation to visit the diplomatic missions were issued last month,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted by IRNA as saying on Tuesday.
An unnamed Saudi Foreign Ministry official claimed on Monday that Iranian authorities had “persistently and consistently” stalled and refused to resume investigations into the incident of storming the kingdom’s embassy in capital Tehran and its consulate in city of Mashhad, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Qassemi dismissed the allegations, saying “These are erroneous and untrue comments. It seems that such remarks were made without any coordination with informed and relevant officials at Saudi Foreign Ministry.”
He added that Tehran and Riyadh had reached an agreement over the visit to diplomatic missions, saying that the Iranian side issued visas for the Saudi delegation nearly a month ago after Saudi Foreign Ministry accepted the principle of reciprocity.
“The license for an exclusive flight for the abovementioned delegation was issued in the shortest possible time and this delegation was scheduled to arrive in Tehran on Sunday, but they themselves made a request to postpone the trip in order to make necessary preparation,” the Iranian spokesperson pointed out.
It seems likely that the Saudi side has been taken by surprise as a result of Iran’s goodwill and swift measures and, as usual, has started playing the blame game, he said.
Attackers held violent protests in front of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the Iranian capital as well as its diplomatic mission in Mashhad on January 2, 2016 against the kingdom’s earlier execution of its leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Tehran has condemned the attacks, calling its perpetrators rogue elements.
Riyadh reacted to the violence by rupturing its diplomatic ties with Tehran, which it has not restored to date.