Iran says to keep dialogue open with Saudi Arabia amid strained ties

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The ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia are facing problems and challenges but Iran is working hard to keep the dialogue open between the two Middle Eastern powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has said.

The diplomat, who is currently visiting Lebanon, on Friday said the contradictory behaviours of Saudi Arabia like the execution of 81 people, among whom are Shiite dissidents, affect the bilateral relations, and that Iran wouldn’t forget the death of 460 Iranian nationals in the Mina tragedy, a deadly stampede in Saudi Arabia on September 24, 2015, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported.

It was Saudi Arabia that has cut diplomatic ties with Iran, Abdollahian said, adding that “we have concerns about Saudi policy, but we have not cut ties with it.”

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016 in protest against the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran following the Saudi execution of a Shiite cleric, Xinhua news agency reported.

About the conflicts between the Yemeni Houthis and Saudi Arabia, the Iranian Foreign Minister said, “Yemenis’ defending of their sovereignty is an issue of their own business, but Iran welcomes cessation of war and lifting of the (Saudi-led) siege of this country.”

He dismissed the claim that what happening in Yemen is related to Iran, adding that it is up to the Yemenis to decide the issues of their country.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of the northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the following year to support the Yemeni government.

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