- GCC wants international community to take action against Iran
- Saudi asks Iran not to `interfere' in other nation's affairs
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said it fully supports any further action against Shiite-majority Iran to halt “terrorist acts” after Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric triggered attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
The GCC, whose members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, “calls upon the international community to take serious measures against Iran to prevent repetition of such attack on diplomatic missions in the future,” Abdul Latif Al Zayani, the secretary-general of the council, told reporters in Riyadh Saturday after a meeting of its foreign-affairs ministers. It “welcomes the strong rejection of Iran’s actions against Saudi Arabia from neighboring Arab and Islamic countries.”
Friction between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Iran spiked over the past weekend with the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric and activist, with protests erupting throughout the Shiite world, especially in Iran, where a mob set the Saudi embassy on fire. In response, the government in Riyadh severed diplomatic and some commercial ties. Several allies followed suit. The breakdown in relations between the two regional powerhouses comes as Shiite-majority Iran prepares for the removal of sanctions imposed in 2012 over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The GCC condemned the attack on the Saudi embassy and holds Iranian authorities responsible, Al Zayani said. The council stands with Saudi Arabia’s decisions against Iran, he said.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Affairs Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said while the country has no issue conducting talks with Iran, Tehran’s actions make it hard to deal with.
“We cannot have a country that attacks and burns embassies whether those embassies are British or American or Saudi,” Al-Jubeir said. “Iran has to make a decision whether it is a nation state or a revolution. If it is a nation state, it should act like one.”
Saudi Arabia would welcome the opportunity to see Iran “act like a normal country,” he said. “To be a peaceful country and to not interfere in the affairs of other countries in the region and to stop supporting terrorism. So that is entirely in the hands of Iran, whether it wants to be a good neighbor or if it wants to remain in a hostile environment with this region.”
Iran expressed hope Saudi Arabia would pursue the path to peace and good neighborliness rather than confrontation with the country, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in letters to the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and his counterparts in UN member states.
“With the sidestepping of contrived threat from nuclear Iran, there are indications some in Saudi Arabia are busy trying to entangle the whole region in crisis,” he said in the letters, according to state television.