The Iran Project

Spokesman: Tehran-Riyadh differences not religious

FNA- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi underlined that religion plays no role in the differences between his country and Saudi Arabia, adding that Israel is benefiting the most from the rift between the two major Muslim states.

“Undoubtedly, the tensions between the two countries don’t have religious roots since we believe that unity in the Muslim world is basic and therefore, we respect all religions and cults and some small differences provide no good reasons for going towards violence,” Qassemi said in an interview with Kuwait’s al-Jaridah newspaper on Monday.

Stressing that the root cause of the differences between Tehran and Riyadh should be found, he said, “The Zionist regime is earning the most from the current conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following demonstrations held in front of its embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad by angry protesters censuring the Al Saud family for the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh on January 2.

Nimr’s execution caused international outrage and sparked anti-Saudi demonstrations in many other countries.

Riyadh has been attempting to rock the boat in relations between Iran and other world states and has spared no efforts to pressure Tehran.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) claimed in April that Mahan Air was banned due to alleged violations of local safety rules. The GACA claimed in a statement that several violations related to airline safety had been committed by Mahan Air.

Immediately after the announcement, Director of Civil Aviation Organization Reza Jafarzadeh said Iranian airlines had never tried to land or make any request to fly in the Saudi airspace.

In a statement at the time, Jafarzadeh said Saudi authorities should explain why they claim they have withdrawn licenses given to Mahan Air to land in the Persian Gulf kingdom or fly in its airspace over ‘safety’ claims.

“No Iranian airline, including Mahan Air, has ever asked to land in Saudi Arabia or fly in its airspace. Iranian airlines have stopped their flight services to Saudi Arabia altogether. It just doesn’t make any sense for the Saudis to question the safety of Iranian jet airliners,” he added.

This is while trade between Iran and Saudi Arabia has mostly been small and each year only Iranian pilgrims travel to the kingdom for the Hajj pilgrimage.

Also in April, Ground Force Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said Saudi Arabia is masterminding terrorist attacks on the Islamic Republic by training and funding terrorist groups along the borders.

Speaking to reporters, Pakpour said Iran has arrested terrorists that have confessed to their affiliation to Saudi Arabia and some other Persian Gulf Arab states.

Pakpour said Riyadh is striving hard to make Iran insecure, and added, “Right now, countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are engaged in organizing and equipping these groups but the reason why no terrorist act is committed is due to our preparedness.”

Also, on Saturday, Deputy Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Abolfazl Hassan Beiki accused Saudi Arabia of orchestrating several assassination attempts in the Southern provinces of Iran and plotting to blow up three tons of explosives in Tehran.

“We have witnessed the Saudis’ footprints in several failed assassination attempts in the two (Southwestern and Southeastern) provinces of Khouzestan and Sistan and Balouchestan,” Hassan Beiki, also a former advisor to Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said.

He also said that a terrorist team which was disbanded in Garmsar recently and intended to blow up three tons of explosives in Tehran was affiliated to Riyadh, adding that the arrested terrorists in Garmsar and Tehran had received financial support from Saudi Arabia and had been trained in Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqa.

“We should clearly announce that today, the Saudis are adopting measures against our national security through other countries’ embassies, and unfortunately, we see today that certain Arab, African and European embassies are accompanying and uttering similar words like the Saudis (against Iran),” Hassan Beiki said.

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