Saudi Hostility Toward Iran Harms Riyadh, Muslims

Saudi Hostility Toward Iran Harms Riyadh, MuslimsSaudi Hostility Toward Iran Harms Riyadh, Muslims

A senior lawmaker said aggressive policies adopted by Saudi Arabia against Iran are detrimental to its own interests and those of the Muslim world.

"The hostility of Saudi Arabia and its allies toward Iran will harm them and give hegemonic powers a foothold in the region," Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the spokesman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said in an interview with ICANA on Sunday.

The parliamentarian said Saudis have "harmed the material and spiritual resources of the Muslim world and sidelined the Palestinian cause".

Iran seeks stability in the region and peace with Persian Gulf Arab states, but "hostile policies against Iran are not something that can be ignored", he said.

Tensions in Tehran-Riyadh relations escalated after Salman bin Abdulaziz ascended to the Saudi throne in January 2015 and adopted a radical foreign policy. Saudi Arabia under Salman pursued a more aggressive policy against Iran in an attempt to isolate what it perceived as a major rival emerging from years of international sanctions over its nuclear activities, claiming that Iran foments sectarian violence in the Middle East and aspires to dominate the region.

  Deep-Rooted Grudge

Hosseini said the unfriendly attitude of Saudis toward Iran started with the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when Iran's relations with arrogant world powers became tense and Saudis, affected by those powers, viewed Iran as a rival that should be weakened.

The lawmaker said to achieve their aims, one year later, Saudis supported the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his aggression against Iran (the 1980-88 Iraq-imposed war) that claimed the lives of almost a million people.

Hosseini said three decades later, Saudis tried to harm Iranian interests by supporting international economic sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear work and even sought to create obstacles in the way of Iran's negotiations with world powers that led to the July 2015 nuclear deal.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, strained over last September's Mina crush incident in which at least 465 Iranians were killed, plummeted in January, when Iranian protesters angered over the Saudi execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr attacked the Saudi diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashhad.

Although Iranian authorities condemned the attack and prosecuted perpetrators, the Saudi government used the incident to cut diplomatic relations with Iran. Last Thursday, President Hassan Rouhani called on Saudi Arabia to "cease and desist" from "divisive policies" if it was serious about regional peace and security.

In his address at the UN General Assembly, Rouhani said, "If the Saudi government is serious about its vision for development and regional security, it must cease and desist from divisive policies, from spreading hate ideology [referring to Wahhabism] and trampling upon the rights of neighbors."