Tehran’s foreign minister claims his country will not allow Riyadh to derail talks.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday accused Saudi Arabia of using its row with Tehran to “negatively affect” peace talks on the Syrian conflict.
“Saudi Arabia’s approach is to create tension intended to negatively affect the Syrian crisis,” Zarif said in a foreign ministry statement. “We will not allow Saudi actions to have a negative impact,” he said.
The statement coincided with a visit to Tehran for talks by Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. peace envoy on Syria, one week after Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in a row that began with the Sunni kingdom’s execution of a Shia cleric.
The U.N. Security Council is backing an 18-month plan to end Syria’s nearly five-year war and the roadmap was the result of recently launched international talks aimed at ending the conflict.
Saudi Arabia and Iran joined world powers at those discussions but there are concerns their split over the execution of cleric and activist Nimr al-Nimr could damage the talks.
Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and its mission in Mashhad, Iran’s second city, were attacked by mobs and set on fire after the killing. Diplomatic ties were cut 24 hours later. Since then Saudi Arabia has “intensified its actions” against Iran, Zarif said, citing an alleged Saudi airstrike said to have caused damage at Iran’s embassy in Yemen’s capital Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia and Iran back opposite sides in the Yemen conflict. “They hide their negative approach by attacking the Islamic Republic of Iran’s embassy in Sanaa and injuring the personnel of the embassy,” Zarif said.