Khamenei realizes after weeks: Attack on Saudi mission was too damaging

Updated 21 January 2016
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Khamenei realizes after weeks: Attack on Saudi mission was too damaging

DUBAI: Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday condemned the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran this month, saying it was “really bad” and that it damaged the country.
Protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Jan. 2 after Saudi Arabia executed a convicted terrorist. This prompted Riyadh to sever relations with Tehran.
“Attacking the Saudi Embassy (in Tehran) was really bad and harmed Iran and Islam..,” Khamenei said.
He also thanked Revolutionary Guards for detaining a group of US sailors in the Gulf last week, adding they had done the right thing.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to thank the young soldiers in the Revolutionary Guards. What they did in the Arabian Gulf was right,” Khamenei also said.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 45 min 56 sec ago
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.