Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi says Saudi Arabia must stop pursuing anti-Iran policies and leveling accusations against the Islamic Republic, expressing Tehran’s readiness to hold negotiations with Riyadh.
“We do not want our problems to continue with neighboring states and our foreign policy is based on the establishment of constructive relations with other countries, including the Persian Gulf littoral states,” Qassemi said in an interview with the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper.
He added that the issues between Tehran and Riyadh are not very complicated, saying, “What undermined mutual relations was misunderstanding and unfounded accusations against Iran.”
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia soured after a deadly human crush occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca, in September 2015. Saudi Arabia initially published a death toll of 770, but refused to update it despite gradually surging fatality figures from individual countries whose nationals had been among the victims of the crush.
Iran said about 4,700 people, including over 465 of its nationals, lost their lives in the incident.
Mutual ties deteriorated further when Riyadh executed prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in January 2016. Saudi Arabia unilaterally severed its diplomatic ties with Iran after protests in front of its diplomatic premises in the cities of Tehran and Mashhad against Nimr’s execution.
In response to a question about the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the war on Yemen, the spokesperson said Riyadh had made a big mistake by attacking Yemen.
“This issue is not acceptable to Iran,” Qassemi pointed out.
He said that the Yemenis were in possession of a huge amount of arms, adding that the Al Saud regime had wrongly believed that everything would end in its own favor; however, it faced the Yemeni people’s resistance.
“Iran has neither military nor financial intervention in Yemen,” the spokesman said.
Since March 2015, the Saudi regime has been engaged in a brutal campaign against Yemen in an attempt to reinstall Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the former Yemeni president who resigned and is a staunch ally of Riyadh. The campaign also aims to crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement. The Saudi regime has failed to achieve its objectives.
Latest tallies show that the Saudi war on Yemen has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more.