Saudi-Iran crisis grows as Kuwait recalls ambassador from Tehran


BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) — The Iran-Saudi Arabia crisis widened on Tuesday as Kuwait recalled its ambassador from Tehran amid growing international concern.

Kuwait recalled its ambassador to Iran following attacks on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and consulate general in Mashhad in angry protests against the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia.

“Such action constitutes a flagrant breach of international conventions and violation of Iran’s commitment to security and safety of diplomatic missions on its lands,” a Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying.

Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with Iran on Sunday after the attacks.

Some of Saudi Arabia’s allies followed suit, with Bahrain and Sudan breaking off ties with Iran and the United Arab Emirates downgrading relations.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that Riyadh cannot hide the “crime” of killing a religious cleric by severing diplomatic ties with Tehran.

The Saudi authorities should have not responded to the criticisms of al-Nimr by beheading him, Rouhani said in a meeting with visiting Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen.

“We hope that the European countries which have been sensitive to human rights issues could do their duties in this regard,” Rouhani said.

The Iranian president, however, stressed that Iran is seeking good relations with its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.

The best way to settle the dispute is through political and diplomatic means, he said, adding that the critical situation in the region requires cooperation among the countries against terrorism.

On Monday, the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations said that his country will attend the upcoming Syrian and Yemeni peace talks, despite the fallout with Iran.

The disputes “should have no effect” on Riyadh’s participation in the talks expected to begin later this month, Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

The envoy also called on Tehran to “cease and desist” intervention in the internal affairs of countries in the Middle East. “We hope that Iran will take a more positive approach,” he said.

But the ambassador also said that the two nations are “not naturally born enemies,” and that what separated them was Iranian interference, in reference to Iran’s support for organizations in other countries, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the administration of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Al-Mouallimi said his nation had “nothing but respect” for Iran’s ancient culture, as the two countries live in the same region and have the same religion.

 

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