01-10-2016 11:33 PM Jerusalem Timing

Zarif: Saudi Arabia ’Must Stop’ Efforts to Fuel Tension against Iran

Zarif: Saudi Arabia ’Must Stop’ Efforts to Fuel Tension against Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia "must stop" its prolonged attempts to frustrate Iran’s efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East and beyond.

Tehran: Iraqi FM (L), Iranian FM (R)Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia "must stop" its prolonged attempts to frustrate Iran's efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East and beyond.

"For the past two-and-a-half years, Saudi Arabia has opposed Iran's diplomacy," Zarif said at a joint press conference in Tehran with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

"Saudi Arabia has moved against our efforts and they opposed the nuclear agreement, in line with the Zionist regime," Zarif said, in reference to Iran's deal last year with world powers over its peaceful atomic program.

"This trend of creating tension must stop," Zarif said of Saudi Arabia, which cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday a day after popular spontaneous fury over the assassination of Sheikh Nirm al-Nimr affected the kingdom's embassy in Tehran.

Executing of Sheikh Nimr on Saturday was followed by anger in Saudi Arabia's Qatif region, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon and other countries.

"We have never sought to create tension. We have always adopted a policy of interaction and dialogue," Zarif said, reiterating that the Iranian government had condemned Saturday's embassy attack as "not at all justified".

"All Iranian officials condemn it," he added.

However, he noted that Saudi Arabia’s measure to execute the cleric was by no means justifiable because he was “a person who dedicated his entire life to invite people to Islam through peaceful means, dialogue, and interaction” and took advantage of all civil capacities to oppose recourse to military forces, terrorism and extremism.

“We invite all parties to become united in the face of extremism, terrorism, sectarianism, and tribalism,” Zarif said, adding that measures taken to intensify such factors will backfire on those any measure that would lead to escalation of tensions and create crises in the region will not benefit its perpetrator.

The nuclear deal struck last July between Iran and five other world powers was seen as a diplomatic triumph by its authors but it was vehemently opposed by the Zionist entity and Saudi Arabia.

The ISNA news agency reported that Jaafari was making efforts to "advance dialogue and have a diplomatic role in preventing efforts to create discord", so that the region could "pass its current challenge".