Need for New Strategy Toward Saudis

Need for New Strategy Toward SaudisNeed for New Strategy Toward Saudis

Given the hostile position of Saudi Arabia toward Iran, it is time a different policy was adopted in dealings with the Arab kingdom, the spokesperson for the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran needs to devise a new strategy toward Saudi Arabia," Nozar Shafiei told IRNA after a meeting of the commission on Sunday, adding the strategy would be discussed in detail in future meetings.

Tensions between Tehran and Riyadh intensified following last month's crush of Hajj pilgrims near Mecca, which claimed the lives hundreds of worshippers, including 465 Iranians.

The incident prompted the Foreign Ministry to summon the Saudi charge d'affaires four times to protest his country's lack of cooperation with Iranian officials in their investigations into the whereabouts of the victims.  

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned Saudi Arabia last week about the consequences of failing to meet its obligations regarding Iranian pilgrims.

"But they should be aware of the fact that the slightest disrespect to tens of thousands of Iranian Hajj pilgrims in Mecca and Medina [home to the holiest Muslim shrines] and the [Saudis'] failure to meet their obligations on the repatriation of the bodies will be met with Iran's firm and harsh response."

  Case of Post's Reporter

Referring to other topics covered in Sunday's session, Shafiei said intelligence forces submitted a report on the ways hostile governments are attempting to hurt the establishment, citing the case of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian.

"As Rezaian is important for the US, the Americans have gone to great lengths to secure his release."

Rezaian was arrested in Iran on July 22, 2014 on charges of espionage, collaborating with hostile governments, gathering classified information and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic Republic. US officials have been pushing for his release ever since he was taken into custody.

"He was acting as an agent to put into action the idea shared among some US senators that if the United States succeeds in re-establishing bilateral relations prevailing before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Tehran's government can be easily toppled," the lawmaker said.

The 39-year-old journalist, with a dual Iran-US citizenship, was arrested along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, in Tehran.

Jason's wife, who worked as a correspondent for the UAE-based newspaper National, was released on bail in October 2014.

Shafiei pointed to the move by the Bahraini government to expel Iran's diplomat on Thursday, denouncing it as part of an attempt to deflect attention from its Saudi-assisted crimes against the people of Bahrain and its inability to handle popular demands.

Iran retaliated Manama's move the next day by asking a Bahraini diplomat of equivalent rank to leave Tehran.