Miscalculation Behind Saudi Rupture of Ties

Miscalculation Behind Saudi Rupture of Ties Miscalculation Behind Saudi Rupture of Ties

A senior diplomat said the Riyadh move to cut diplomatic relations with Tehran in January resulted from a miscalculation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi made the statement in a recent conference held by the Center for International Public Policy Studies in Tokyo, Fars News Agency reported on Sunday.

"I think they made a miscalculation. We don't believe Iran and Saudi Arabia are rivals," he said.

Although Tehran-Riyadh relations had not been warm in recent decades, their ties became particularly tense after the Arab Spring rocked the region in 2011, as they supported opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Bahrain, among others.

But the real problem emerged after Salman bin Abdulaziz ascended to the Saudi throne in January 2015, who started a military campaign in Yemen and adopted a more aggressive policy against Iran.

Heightened tensions culminated in an announcement by Riyadh last January to sever bilateral diplomatic ties, using the attacks on its vacant diplomatic premises in Iran by protesters angered over the Saudi illegal execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as an excuse. This is while Iranian authorities condemned the attack and called for the prosecution of perpetrators.

  Big Players  

Araqchi said Tehran and Riyadh are two big players in West Asia, which need to cooperate against common threats.

"Although terrorists are widely spread in Iraq and Syria, they are the biggest threat to the region as they aim to topple the order in the whole Middle East," he said.

"Dealing with them requires collective resolve and contribution of all [regional] countries."

The high-ranking diplomat stressed Tehran is committed to continue its fight against terrorism.

"Promoting regional peace and stability is Iran's policy. Today, Iran is not only the most secure country in the region, but it has the biggest role in combating terrorism," he said.

Araqchi, a former ambassador to Japan who was in Tokyo to attend the conference of the leading Japanese think tank CIPPS, also met Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama and former Japanese prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, late last week.