Conciliatory Tone Despite Saudi Belligerence

Despite Saudi threats to bring war into Iran, Tehran has said it is ready to offer peace to the whole region, even Saudi Arabia
Conciliatory Tone Despite Saudi  Belligerence Conciliatory Tone Despite Saudi  Belligerence

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated Iran's commitment to upholding peace and stability in the region, despite the bellicose approach of Saudi Arabia and some other countries.

"We continue to insist on our principled policies despite the mistakes of some neighboring states. A Saudi official has recently threatened to bring war inside Iran. Now I announce on behalf of the Iranian government that we stand ready to offer peace to the whole region, even Saudi Arabia, as a gift," Zarif said in an article published by the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper on Sunday as cited by ISNA.

"But this cannot be realized unless the Saudi government ceases its useless war and deadly strikes against the Yemeni people and its crackdown on the popular demand for democracy in neighboring countries."

Earlier this month Saudi deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defense minister, ruled out ties with Iran after Tehran announced the possibility of de-escalation of bilateral tensions.

He alleged that talks with Iran were impossible, as Tehran's goal was to "control the Muslim world".

Salman said any struggle for influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia has to take place "inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia".

The remarks were made after Zarif had said Tehran was ready to normalize ties with Riyadh if the oil kingdom stopped bombing Yemen and ended support for extremist groups.

Riyadh and Tehran have locked horns in conflicts across the war-stricken region, including in Syria and Yemen. Saudi Arabia, backed by some African and Arab states, has been conducting a massive and bloody air campaign against the forces of the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and those loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in an attempt to reinstall Saleh's ousted successor Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The Islamic Republic, while supporting the cause of the Houthi movement, has dismissed allegations of sending arms  to the group.

The war, now in its third year, has claimed 12,000 lives, mostly civilians killed by Saudi bombers, and displaced more than 3 million Yemenis.

  Destructive Moves    

"Some Arab states have pushed the region toward instability by intensifying their destructive policies and measures in recent years," Zarif added.

A couple of deadly disasters in 2015, namely a human crush during the hajj pilgrimage and a crane crash in the Grand Mosque during a storm only weeks apart, and the incompetence of Saudi organizers in handling them, further muddied the waters between the two Muslim powerhouses.

Ultimately, the storming of Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran early last year by a group of protestors, enraged over the kingdom's execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, dealt a fatal setback to already fraught relations.

Riyadh seized upon the embassy attack to cut diplomatic contacts with its regional archrival.

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