Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations has accused Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of violating the U.N. Charter by sending unveiled threats and escalating tension with the Islamic Republic. The Iranian angry response came after Mohammed, who is also the Kingdom’s defense minister, said in a television interview that Riyadh would not seek dialogue with Tehran because the latter was attempting to take over the Muslim world. The prince stressed that “we won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia,” and instead “we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”
In a two-page letter of protest to the U.N. Security Council and to Secretary General António Guterres, Iran’s ambassador, Gholamali Khoshroo said: “While completely rejecting his allegations against my country, I emphasize that these statements are unveiled threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He called it a violation of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter. Khoshroo also accused Riyadh of being behind the latest killing of Iranian border guards in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province.
Separately, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi had called the Saudi prince’s remarks unhelpful and blamed Riyadh for regional instability. “Such comments are clear evidence that the Saudis promote terrorism and pursue provocative and destructive policies regarding the region and Iran affairs,” he said.
Comment: Relations between Tehran and Riyadh have sunk to their nadir – particularly since Iranian mobs torched the Saudi embassy in Tehran in January 2016. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif acknowledged on Wednesday that Iranian authorities did not manage the embassy attack and its aftermath correctly. In January, Kuwait’s foreign minister paid a rare visit to Tehran to deliver to Rouhani a message from the six-member Gulf Corporation Council (G.C.C.) that called for frank dialogue between Iran and the Gulf states. But as Mohammed’s remarks indicate, Riyadh and some of its regional allies now see dialogue with Tehran as futile because of Iran’s increasing military role in the Arab world, particularly Tehran’s support for Houthi rebels in Yemen.