Saudi Arabia must see the realities in region: Iran’s Zarif

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Iran’s foreign minister has dismissed claims by Saudi Arabia of Tehran’s interference in the affairs of other countries in the region, calling on Riyadh to adopt a realistic approach with regard to the issues of the Middle East.

Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Lebanese daily Assafir in an interview published on Thursday that Saudis should see the realities in the region as they are.

He said it was not Iran that backed Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein against Saudi Arabia, rather it was Riyadh that gave its support to the dictator against Iran during the eight-year war Iraq imposed on the Islamic Republic in the 1980s.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Iranian diplomat said the issue of Iran’s nuclear program was a marginal case, which Iran managed to settle, adding that the fundamental and actual issues lie in the region.

He said Tehran will work for the resolution of disputes in the Middle East, which could be facilitated in the light of the conclusion of Iran’s nuclear case.

Saudi Arabia and its allies in the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council officially welcomed the July 14 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. However, Saudi officials continue to cast doubts on the conclusion, saying it will increase what they call Iran’s negative clout over the Middle East.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif touched upon the cancellation of his trip to Turkey, saying the planned visit was postponed due to time constraint.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Istanbul while Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were in Ankara, the Iranian foreign minister said, adding that it is not possible to meet the three in a short period of time. Zarif said the visit to Turkey will take place “in a week.”

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