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Saudi Arabia creating tension to affect Syrian crisis: Iran FM

11 January, 2016

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TEHRAN/CAIRO: 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 UN 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 UN 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 said on Sunday its cutting of ties with Iran was a first step and it could take more action if Tehran does not change its policies, but did not expect the dispute to affect efforts on Syria.

Speaking at a news conference after an Arab League meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said his country would discuss any potential further actions against Iran with its regional and international allies but gave no details on what those measures might involve.

Jubeir said some countries had offered to mediate but that required Iran to be serious about the efforts. “With regards to mediation, there are some states that have expressed their readiness to conduct this, but the important thing is seriousness with regards to the Iranian position,” he said.

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