Iran strongly condemns terror plot against Mecca Grand Mosque 

June 24, 2017 - 12:1

TEHRAN – Iran condemned on Saturday a foiled suicide attack on the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, calling on all regional nations to “make relentless efforts in fight against” terrorism. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns terrorism, no matter where, in what form, and for what motive it happens,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in a statement. 

On Friday, Saudi security forces foiled a suicide attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca, cornering the would-be attacker in an apartment, where he blew himself up.

Reportedly, three cells had planned the attack on worshippers and security forces at the mosque as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan nears its climax.

“The recent failed attempt by a number of criminal terrorists to attack the Masjid al-Haram [Grand Mosque of Mecca] once again revealed the fact that the unbridled and growing terrorism … knows no faith, religion, geography, race, and nationality, and can target the holiest Muslim sites to achieve its inauspicious goals,” Qassemi noted. 

“Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran once again warns all governments, particularly [those of] the regional states, about this despicable scourge, and calls on all regional nations to remain vigilant and  make relentless efforts in fight against this symbol and manifestation of grudge, hatred, violence, and crime,” he went on to say.

The attack comes just days after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as heir. 

The 31-year old Salman is strongly antagonistic to archrival, Shiite Iran, seeking closer ties with the U.S. and Israel to contain what he calls Iran’s “extremist ideology,” what Tehran categorically rejects. 

Tehran and Riyadh have no relations since January 2016 as Saudi Arabia summoned its diplomats from Tehran after the storming of its diplomatic posts in Tehran and Mashhad by angry mobs who demonstrated against the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Informal communication channels have also come under strain as the two back opposing sides in Syria, and sympathize with diametrically opposed fronts in the Middle East. 

Ignoring Iran’s overtures for a less strained relations, Salman pledged to take war “inside Iran”, making a dent in hopes for détente. 

The aim of Iran is “to reach the focal point of Muslims (Mecca) and we will not wait until the fight is inside Saudi Arabia and we will work so that the battle is on their side, inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia," Salman said in interview in May. 

Tehran implicitly accused Saudi Arabia of having had hands in the June 7 terrorist attacks in Tehran, for which Islamic State took credit.

Hours before the twin assault which left 18 people dead, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had said Iran should be punished for what he called its interference in the region.

Riyadh did no officially condemned the Tehran attacks.  

In a recent development, Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, including a drastic scaling back of cooperation with Iran. 

On June 5, Saudi Arabia along with the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and introduced sanctions on the country for its relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Iran is shipping now more than 1,000 tons of fruits and vegetables to Qatar every day, aiming to reduce economic pressure from the Saudi-led alliance against the tiny fellow Arab state. 

AK/PA 

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