First Published: 2011-05-10

 

Saudi Arabia rebuffs Iranian Foreign Ministers visit

 

Qatar declines to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran, and calls on Iran to resolve its problems directly with Saudi Arabia.

 

Middle East Online

What a headache

RIYADH and LONDON - The Saudi-Iranian relations are going through a period of high tension that culminated in Saudi Arabias refusal to receive Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as part of his Gulf tour.

Sources in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) confirmed the Saudi rejection. The Saudi move, they said, is due to the Iranian diplomatic and media campaign against the kingdom. The campaign comes against the backdrop of the Saudis support for the Bahraini government against what the Al-Khalifa, the Bahraini royal family which has been ruling the country for 300 years, called an Iranian coup plan.

According to the sources, the Saudis stressed that unless the Iranian government apologized for the vandalism done to its consulate in Mashhad and the attack on its embassy in Tehran, the visit of the Iranian minister could not be considered friendly, and that there would be no healthy foundations for the development of future relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The sources revealed that Salehi sought a Qatari mediation, but the Qataris affirmed that a continued direct contact between the two countries is better for the stability of the region.

Salehi said earlier that the development and improvement of his country's relations with Saudi Arabia would be the top priority on his agenda. However, the Saudi lukewarm reaction to these remarks has thwarted the Iranian ministers potential visit to Saudi Arabia as part of his Gulf tour during which he visited Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Saudis are thought to be expressing their resentment at the Iranian interference in the region and the Gulf states internal affairs as represented in the discovery of an Iranian spy network in Kuwait and the Iranian media handling of the Bahrain demonstrations.

The Saudis are believed to be escalating the matter with the Iranian government. What makes the situation worse is the fact that these developments come at a time when Syria, which used to be a mediator between the two countries, is preoccupied with its domestic troubles. This makes it unable to mediate to ease the tension in the Gulf region.

Iranian leaders, however, have continued to make statements that are detrimental to the relations with the Gulf countries. The most recent was a statement by General Hassan Firouzabadi, the Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, who attacked the anti-Iran front of Arab dictatorships in the Gulf. He stressed that this region has always been Iranian property.

In a statement carried by several news agencies and Iranian newspapers, Firouzabadi said: "The Arab dictatorial regimes in the Persian Gulf are unable to prevent popular uprisings."

 

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

Saudi king to launch 'entertainment city'

Can Arab satellite TV catch up with social media?

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China

Russia says no decision yet on delivery of S-300 missiles to Syria

French MPs adopt controversial immigration bill

Qatar Airways ‘robust’ despite large losses

IS threatens to attack Iraqi polling station

Jordan sounds the alarm over rising online crimes

Yemen forces clash with jihadists in Taez

Paris attacks suspect gets 20 years over Brussels shootout

Jailed Egyptian photographer wins UN press freedom prize

14 Saddam-era officials still jailed in Iraq

Gaza death toll rises to 40 as Palestinian dies of wounds

HRW says African migrants face rape, torture in Yemen

Four British pilgrims killed in Saudi road crash

HRW warns Egypt fight against IS threatens humanitarian crisis

Iran, Israel trade blame for surge in hostilities over Syria

Iran vows to resume enrichment if US quits nuclear deal

UAE accuses Qatari jets of ‘chasing’ passenger flight

Israel rubbishes claims Mossad behind Malaysia assassination

Syrian refugees are not going home anytime soon

Resumption of direct flights from Moscow brings hope to Egypt’s tourism sector

Saudi finalises drone regulation after security alarm

Will Lebanon have more women MPs after May 6 poll?

Saudi shoots down ‘toy drone’

Mass grave discovered under Raqa football pitch

UN Security Council meets over Syria in Sweden

Turkish government rejects criticism of election campaign

Condemnation after Gaza teenager killed by Israeli soldiers

Syrian rebels agree to leave new area outside Damascus

Rouhani slams officials' 'vow of silence' in face of protests

Family accuses Israel of killing Palestinian in Malaysia

Natalie Portman says backed out of Israel prize over Netanyahu

Morocco, EU start talks on new fisheries deal

FIFA to return to Morocco to check hotels, stadiums

Turkey in shock after violent Istanbul derby

Iraq pays first war reparations to Kuwait since 2014

Fiery kites adopted as new tactic by Gaza protesters

Romanian president slams plan to move Israel embassy