TEHRAN, May 15, YJC -Iran said it does not seek tensions with Saudi Arabia, even though it characterizes Riyadh's involvement in conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere as "strategic mistakes".
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Monday called on Saudi rulers to abandon their "misbehavior" and instead answer Iran's call for dialog and interaction.
"Our response to the misbehavior and improper remarks of Saudi authorities is that we do not want tensions," Qassemi told reporters during his weekly news briefing, adding Tehran is ready for dialog with Riyadh.
"However, dialog and understanding does not mean an endorsement of all the things governments and countries do. Either at the regional level or on the issue of Yemen and Iran, Saudi Arabia is involved in strategic mistakes."
Qassemi said Iran is hopeful that Saudi Arabia would be ready for dialog with Iran in "a fair environment".
"We hope they would realize their mistakes and create an atmosphere for understanding and negotiation through making up for their past mistakes,” he added.
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have escalated since the kingdom executed a prominent Shia cleric in January 2016.
The execution triggered angry protests in many countries, including Iran. Protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, prompting Riyadh to cut diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.
Saudi authorities have also become increasingly belligerent in their verbal attacks against Iran. Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman recently said, "We will work to have the battle in Iran rather than in Saudi Arabia."
Relations between the two countries first soured after a deadly human crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca, in September 2015, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims among others.
Elsewhere in his news conference, Qassemi urged the United States to adopt a "pragmatic” approach as regards the standing 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, including Washington.
The US has time and again threatened the deal. It has also refused to provide international banking systems with the guarantees they need against punitive measures to resume transactions with Iran as has been enabled by the accord.
Qassemi said President Hassan Rouhani, who is seeking reelection, also plans to have the non-nuclear sanctions against the country lifted.
"We will try to remove these sanctions, which have certain complications,” he said.
"Some of these issues are related to the US, and some to other countries,” Qassemi said, urging the other side to likewise exercise goodwill and fairness.
Meanwhile, the spokesman described an ongoing mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails as indicative of their resistance against Israeli aggression.
He also said in the absence of diplomatic ties with Iran, Canada has been urged through the Iranian mission at the United Nations to allow Iranian expatriates to participate in the presidential election on May 19.
Qassemi put the Canadian government's lack of cooperation down to its "domestic problems.”