PHOTO: Supreme Leader’s military advisor “Saudi Arabia influenced by Zionist regime”
In a shift of approach, Iran’s regime and the Rouhani Government have gone on the attack against Saudi Arabia in the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
President Rouhani had tried to ease the tensions, sparked by Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric on January and an attack by a Tehran crowd on the Saudi Embassy hours later. Following Saudi Arabia’s cutting of diplomatic relations, Rouhani called for an investigation of the events at the Embassy, identifying and punishing perpetrators.
However, Friday Prayers leaders began to shift the focus by claiming that foreign actors, including the Saudis, had orchestrated the attack. Then on Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif abandoned his moderate tone with a scathing opinion piece in The New York Times, claiming the Saudis were the “real global threat”.
Zarif went so far as to equate Saudi Arabia with the Islamic State — echoing a message put out by the Supreme Leader’s office on January 3 — and to tell Americans that the Saudis were behind attacks from 9-11 to last month’s killing of 14 people at a party in California.
President Rouhani’s office has retweeted the Foreign Secretary’s words:
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2016
Supreme Leader’s Top Aide: Saudis Carrying Out Zionist Policies
The Supreme Leader’s military advisor, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, took up the attack on Monday, “Al Saud policies are influenced by the Zionist regime, and this regime is more inclined than the United States toward dragging the region to insecurity, unrest and chaos.”
Rahim Safavi said Riyadh’s actions have led to the massacre of the people in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, describing the killings as the “Zionists’ policy”. He called on Muslims in regional countries to be on alert against the plot.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari contributed on Monday with the declaration, “Saudi Arabia’s policy is based on imposing its unilateral policies on other nations and governments.” He said Riyadh was pursuing talks with the other five states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and with the Arab League “to win allies and imply that it is not alone”.
Over the weekend, the GCC states offered strong support for the Saudi position, including the cutting or downgrading of relations with Iran, criticizing Tehran’s actions in the region.
Jaberi Ansari added, “The governments that are seeking to foster diplomatic relations with Israel are hurting their nations’ interests and the regional countries.”
More than 220 of Iran’s 290 MPs issued a statement on Monday condemning a Saudi airstrike near the Iranian embassy in the Yemeni capital Sana’a last week, calling on the Foreign Ministry to pursue the issue through international legal channels.
The Saudi attack reportedly damaged the Embassy and seriously injured a security guard.