Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib (R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian attend a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon March 24, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)
TEHRAN, March 25 (Xinhua). Iran-Saudi Arabia relations face problems and challenges, but Iran is working hard to keep dialogue between the two Middle East powers open, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Friday.
The diplomat, who is currently visiting Lebanon, said that Saudi Arabia’s contradictory behavior, such as the execution of 81 people, including Shia dissidents, is affecting bilateral ties and that Iran will not forget the deaths of 460 Iranian nationals in The Mina tragedy, a deadly stampede in Saudi Arabia on September 24, 2015, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported.
It was Saudi Arabia that severed diplomatic ties with Iran, Abdollahian stressed, adding, “We have concerns about Saudi policies, but we have not severed ties with her.”
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016 to protest attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran following Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shia cleric.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian (1st L) speaks during a news conference with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib (2nd L) in Beirut, Lebanon, March 24, 2022. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)
On the conflict between the Yemeni Houthis and Saudi Arabia, Abdollahian said the Yemenis’ defense of their sovereignty was a matter of their own concern, but that Iran welcomed the ending of the war and the lifting of the (Saudi-led) siege on that country .”
He dismissed claims that what is happening in Yemen had anything to do with Iran, adding that it was up to Yemenis to decide their country’s affairs.
Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of the northern provinces, forcing the Saudi-backed Yemeni government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital, Sanaa. The Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to support the Yemeni government. ■