Fri Mar 10, 2017 08:08AM
A view of Iran’s Embassy in Beijing (file photo)
A view of Iran’s Embassy in Beijing (file photo)

Iran has welcomed a Chinese offer to play a mediatory role and help settle the differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which unilaterally severed ties with the Islamic Republic last year.

In a Friday statement, the Iranian Embassy in Beijing criticized Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy, saying Riyadh has destabilized the region and the entire world by “inciting sectarian and religious disputes and sponsoring terrorist and Takfiri groups.”

“The country’s overt interference in the internal affairs of neighbors, its destabilizing role in the region and the nearly two-year cruel aggression against the defenseless people of Yemen have turned Saudi Arabia into a rouge element against all accepted international norms,” it added.

The statement pointed to Iran’s efforts to minimize tensions with its neighbors against the backdrop of the sensitive circumstances across the Middle East and noted that Tehran “has still not lost hope for some of the regional Muslim countries to understand such a need.”

“Contrary to the Saudi regime, Iran welcomes all constructive efforts. In the latest instance, Iran has welcomed a proposal by the Emir of Kuwait to facilitate dialogue and understanding in the region. Accordingly, [Iran] also welcomes a constructive role by the People’s Republic of China.”

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed hope for the resolution of the problems facing Iran and Saudi Arabia, saying Beijing was ready to help eliminate the differences.

The Saudi ambassador in China, however, reacted negatively and rejected the proposal.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following demonstrations held in front of Riyadh’s diplomatic premises in Iran by angry protesters censuring the Al Saud family for the execution of prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Some people mounted the walls of the consulate in Mashhad while incendiary devices were hurled at the embassy in Tehran. Some 100 people were detained over the acts of transgression. Iranian officials also strongly condemned the attacks.

Tehran-Riyadh relations worsened after a deadly human crush occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca in September 2015.

Days into the incident, Saudi Arabia published a death toll of 770 but refused to update it despite gradually surging fatality figures from individual countries whose nationals had been among the victims of the crush. Iran said about 4,700 people, including over 465 of its nationals, lost their lives in the incident.