The Islamic Republic’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif has once again insisted that Tehran is prepared to support Saudi Arabia in case the kingdom comes under “foreign aggression”.
Offering Tehran’s readiness to start talks with Riyadh on contentious issues, Iranian chief diplomat maintained, “The problem is that Saudis think that it is beneficial to them if the world considers Iran as a threat against Saudi Arabia.”
Zarif, who was talking to the press after his speech at Strategic Studies Institution in Islamabad, Pakistan, also said, “We have already declared our readiness for talks with Riyadh and Tehran and welcomed former Pakistani Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif’s proposal on starting the dialogue.”
While reiterating that that Iran will be the first to support Saudi Arabia in case the kingdom comes under a foreign aggression, Zarif noted, “I hope that they (Saudis) have the same feeling and be ready to bridge the differences.”
Furthermore, Zarif affirmed that Iran considers the security and stability of the neighboring countries as its own.
Zarif also said, “There is no reason for hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, we tell them (Saudis) that you cannot obtain security from outside of the region.”
Iran relies heavily on Russia for weapons and support in Syria.
Zarif’s comments in Islamabad appear in contrast with the Islamic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s position on Saudi Arabia.
Khamenei has repeatedly described the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a “reactionary regime” that would “definitely deteriorate and collapse”.
According to Khamenei, Saudi Arabia is a “stinking rich” country in the region that has played a pivotal role in recent widespread protests in Iran.
Retaliating, Riyadh’s strongman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman described Iran as part of a “triangle of evil” along with Turkey and hardline Islamist groups, Egypt’s Al-Shorouk newspaper reported on Wednesday, March 7.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been at odds since the conflict arose in Syria in 2011. The relations suffered more setbacks as 464 Iranian pilgrims were crushed to death in a stampede in Mecca in September 2015.
In January 2, 2016 a crowd of angry protesters stormed into the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its Consulate in city of Mashhad, ransacking embassy’s offices and throwing Molotov cocktails at the building. The mayhem broke out at a rally set off by Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr.
The incident forced Saudis to sever their diplomatic relation with Tehran.