Embassy attackers will face justice, Iran tells UN

January 6, 2016 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations in a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that the country will duly prosecute those responsible for a recent attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

In his Monday letter, Gholamali Khoshroo expressed regret that a number of protesters recently entered and incurred damages on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran despite extensive efforts by the law enforcement forces.

Based on its commitment to international conventions on diplomatic ties, Tehran will spare no effort in arresting and prosecuting all perpetrators in the recent incident, Khoshroo stressed.

He also reassured that Iran “will take necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.”

The reactions came after furious demonstrators in the Iranian cities of Tehran and Mashhad on Sunday stormed Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic buildings in protest at the Al Saud’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Iranian officials criticized the attack on embassy and police arrested several individuals involved.

Al-Nimr was a longtime critic of the kingdom’s discrimination against Shiite Muslims.

--- UN Security Council urges Saudi Arabia, Iran to avoid tension

The UN Security Council has called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to avoid actions that could exacerbate tensions in the region after the kingdom’s execution of prominent cleric.

In a statement on Monday, the 15-member council urged the two sides to “maintain dialogue and take steps to reduce tensions in the region.”

The council made no mention of the Saudi execution of prominent the cleric, which has triggered angry protests in Iran and elsewhere across the world. The statement, instead, censured assaults on two Saudi missions in Iran.

The Security Council called on Iran “to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel.”

Iranian officials have said some 50 people were detained over the incidents outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.

President Hassan Rouhani denounced the assaults and pledged to deal firmly with “unruly” elements.

------Steinmeier invites Riyadh, Tehran to dialogue

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday added his voice to those calling for Iran and Saudi Arabia to put aside their differences and focus instead on beating the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group, according to Deutsche Welle?.

In an interview with mass-circulation newspaper “Bild”, Steinmeier said, “I hope that the turbulence will soon end, reason prevails and Riyadh and Tehran focus on what’s really important - defusing the military conflicts, fostering political solutions in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere and thus pulling the rug out from under IS.”

Steinmeier told Middle East leaders that the region was somewhat indebted to the international community, which he said had “worked extensively for years to bring peace to the interrelated conflicts in the region.”

“Now we need actors in the region who act responsibly, in Riyadh as well as in Tehran,” he added.

--- U.S. calls for restraint as Saudi-Iran tensions escalate

The White House also called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to simmer down after tensions continued after the weekend’s unrest in Tehran.

“We do continue to be concerned about the need for both the Iranians and the Saudis to deescalate the situation in the Middle East,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday, Time reported.

“We are urging all sides to show restraint and to not inflame the tensions that have been on display in the region.”

While Secretary of State John Kerry has echoed American concerns directly to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other U.S. officials have sent messages to counterparts in Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama has not contacted leaders of either country personally but is “aware of the situation,” according to Earnest.

------ Cameron says Saudi-Iran tensions ‘hugely concerning’

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia were “hugely concerning” and condemned the death penalty following Riyadh’s execution of al-Nimr.

“It is hugely concerning because of course we want to see stability in the Middle East... not least because that will be absolutely essential for solving the crisis in Syria which is the source of so many of these problems,” Cameron said on a visit to east London, AFP reported.

“We condemn and do not support the death penalty in any circumstances and that includes Saudi Arabia... we always make representations on the death penalty and the foreign office ministers made it very clear on this occasion.”

Saudi Arabia is Britain’s most important trade partner in the Middle East and was its biggest market for arms exports in 2014.

------- Kuwait recalls ambassador from Tehran

Following a move by Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Bahrain to cut diplomatic ties with Iran, Kuwait on Tuesday recalled its ambassador from Tehran.

Also on Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign ministry called for an end to the war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia amid a worsening diplomatic stand-off.

“Turkey calls for an end to threats, and a return to diplomatic language, and urges mutual caution,” said a statement from the foreign ministry in Ankara.

Some analysts believe the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran may derail the international focus on other disputes in the region, including the fight-back against ISIL, as well as the Syrian conflict, issues that are much closer to Turkey’s borders.

On Monday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the Middle East was “already a powder keg” before relations between the two rivals broke down.

------ Tehran IRGC chief calls attack on embassy unjustifiable

Storming the Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran was a “fully organized” move, Tehran province’s IRGC Commander Brigadier General Mohsen Kazemeini said on Tuesday.

Condemning the attack as unjustifiable, he rejected any involvement of the forces close to the system in the attack, saying the “believers and followers of Hezbollah ideology” did not take part in the attack.