Iran Expresses `Regrets' to UN Over Saudi Embassy Attacks

Examining Cause and Effect of Saudi-Iranian Tension
  • Kuwait recalls its ambassador to Iran after Saudi attack
  • Rouhani says Saudis can't cover up `crimes' by cutting ties

Iran has expressed “regrets” in a letter to the United Nations over the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran after the kingdom and regional allies downgraded diplomatic ties over the incident.

Iran reiterates its commitment to complying with international law, its ambassador to the UN, Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, wrote in letter Monday to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. “Iran will take necessary measures to prevent similar occurrences,” he wrote.

The Saudi government and ally Bahrain severed diplomatic relations after Iranian protesters set the Saudi embassy in Tehran on fire over the weekend following the execution of a Saudi cleric critical of the kingdom’s treatment of its Shiite minority. The United Arab Emirates reduced its representation to the level of charge d’affaires. On Tuesday, Kuwait recalled its ambassador to Iran, the official Kuwait News Agency reported.

The escalation in tensions between Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil explorer, and Iran, a nation seeking to emerge from years of international sanctions, may have wide-ranging repercussions in the Middle East. It threatens to complicate efforts to end conflicts in Yemen and Syria, where they are engaged in proxy confrontations as they vie for supremacy.

Rouhani’s Reaction

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in remarks released on Tuesday, said Saudi Arabia can’t “cover up crimes” by severing ties with his country.

The standoff is the tensest between the regional powers since the late 1980s, when the kingdom suspended ties with Iran after its embassy was attacked following the death of Iranian pilgrims during Hajj in Mecca.

Khoshroo said his country “will do its best to arrest all the perpetrators of the incident and prosecute them.”

Fifty people involved in the attacks, where Iranian protesters hurled rocks and firebombs at the building and sets parts of it on fire, have been arrested and referred to the judiciary, according to Saeed Montazer-ol-Mehdi, a spokesman for Iran’s police.

Saudi Arabia has also moved to punish Iran commercially. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters his nation would be cutting trade ties as well as air traffic. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said his country, unlike Saudi Arabia, will not make “reactive, emotional” moves and will “pursue policies in line with reason.”

Iran is “on the ascent” regionally and internationally and doesn’t see itself in a situation of crisis, Jaber Ansari said, according to the Mehr news agency.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE