Saudi minister denies his country involved in Iran attacks

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends a joint press conference with his German counterpart at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on June 7, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 07 June 2017
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Saudi minister denies his country involved in Iran attacks

BERLIN: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister rejected an accusation by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that his country was behind twin attacks in Tehran on Wednesday that killed at least 12 people.
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the parliament building and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iranian capital. . Islamic State claimed responsibility and released a video purporting to show gunmen inside the parliament.
Speaking in Berlin, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said there was no evidence to implicate Saudi Arabia in the attacks in Tehran, which is Riyadh’s arch regional rival.
“We condemn terrorist attacks anywhere they occur and we condemn the killing of the innocent anywhere it occurs,” Jubeir told an event hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the think- tank of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.
He said Riyadh had no knowledge of who was responsible for the attacks, and denied that Saudi groups were behind it.
“We don’t know this. We haven’t seen the evidence,” he said, repeating Riyadh’s longstanding view that Iran is the primary sponsor of terrorism around the world.
Jubeir said Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries would be willing to reestablish normal ties with Iran if it changed its behavior and stopped supporting militants and fighters in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere across the region.
On Monday Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights, accusing Doha of funding militant groups and backing Iran in the region.
Jubeir said on Wednesday there was no specific trigger for the decision to cut ties with Qatar, but said there was a long list of grievances.
He declined to confirm a list of 10 demands published by Al Jazeera, which included shutting down the Doha-based news channel, but added that Qatar knew what it needed to do to restore normal relations.


Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

Updated 6 min 18 sec ago
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Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

  • ‘We are trying to help and to be mediators’
  • The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers

BAGHDAD: Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels.
Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammed Al-Hakim, made the offer Sunday during a joint news conference in Baghdad with visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“We are trying to help and to be mediators,” said Al-Hakim, adding that Baghdad “will work to reach a satisfactory solution” while stressing that Iraq stands against unilateral steps taken by Washington.
In recent weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran soared over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.
The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran’s missiles, which can reach both US regional bases and Israel.
Zarif, who was been on a whirlwind diplomatic offensive to preserve the rest of the accord, insisted that Iran “did not violate the nuclear deal” and urged European nations to exert efforts to preserve the deal following the US pullout.
Speaking about the rising tensions with the US, Zarif said Iran will be able to “face the war, whether it is economic or military through steadfastness and its forces.” He also urged for a non-aggression agreement between Iran and Arab countries in the Gulf.
The mediation offer by Al-Hakim, Iraq’s foreign minister, echoed one made Saturday by Mohamad Al-Halbousi, the Iraqi parliament speaker. Al-Hakim also expressed concern for Iran’s spiraling economy.
“The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” Al-Hakim said.