Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran is ready to present peace to Saudi Arabia as a gift after the kingdom’s crown prince threatened to draw war into the Iranian territory.
“A Saudi official has recently threatened to ‘have the battle in Iran’. I declare formally and in the name of the government of Iran today that we are ready to present peace as a gift to the entire region, foremost to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Zarif’s announcement came in an article published on the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed media outlet on Saturday, in which he spelled out Iran’s conditions for peace.
“The realization of this issue, however, depends on the Saudi government ending its futile war and deadly attacks against the Yemeni people and abandoning its crackdown on the pro-democracy majority in neighboring countries,” he added.
He was reacting to Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman who recently said, “We will work to have the battle in Iran rather than in Saudi Arabia.”
Zarif said, “Some Arab governments have drawn our region into instability in recent years through escalating their destructive policies and measures.”
“Promoting and supporting extremist ideologies and presenting a violent and unrealistic image from Islam on the one hand, and sacrificing the interests of the regional countries through promotion of instability, bloodshed and fratricide on the other sums up these policies,” he said.
“These bellicose measures altogether would ultimately result in nothing other than serving the greatest enemies of the Muslim and Arab nations,” Zarif wrote.
The minister said the policy line currently being pursued by Saudi rulers is helping “the Iranophobia project which has been initiated and promoted by the Zionist regime for years.”
“Today, the stable Iran is seeking stability in the entire region because it knows that achieving security at home at the expense of insecurity among neighbors is basically impossible,” the article read.
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have escalated since the kingdom executed a prominent Shia cleric in January 2016.
The execution triggered angry protests in many countries, including Iran. Protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, prompting Riyadh to cut diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.
The rupture was followed by exceedingly belligerent remarks against Iran by Saudi officials, including Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
On Monday, though, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said its response to such comments was that it did not seek tensions with Saudi Arabia.
Iran is critical of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen which has killed thousands of civilians and destroyed the impoverished nation’s infrastructure over the past two years.
Tehran has also lashed out at Riyadh’s assistance to militants fighting to topple the Syrian government as well as its contribution to the ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.
Zarif touched on US President Donald Trump who is currently visiting Saudi Arabia on his first foreign tour since taking office.
“If the American president sees himself as a friend of the Riyadh regime and is loyal to his election campaign slogans, he should talk to it about the ways of containing Takfiri terrorists in the region and preventing other 9/11s from being repeated in Western countries by Saudi citizens.”
Zarif said, “Iran is ready to cooperate with regional and extra-regional countries on fighting terrorism and extremism and helping restore peace and tranquility in Syria.”