Tensions in the Middle East remain high, following the gunmen attack in Iran’s parliament and diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries, on one, and Qatar on the other side.
Saudi Arabia’s arch-enemy – Iran, implicitly accused the Saudis of terrorism after the attack in Iranian parliament killed at least 13 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened more attacks against Iran’s Shi’ite population.
“Terror-sponsoring despots threaten to bring the fight to our homeland. Proxies attack what their masters despise most: the seat of democracy,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter after the attack.
Riyadh denied any involvement in the Tehran attack, with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud responding by accusing Iran of promoting extremist ideology with the aim of controlling the Islamic world.
“How can I come to an understanding with someone, or a regime, that has an anchoring belief built on an extremist ideology? What are the interests between us? How can I come to an understanding with this?,” The Crown Prince told MBC, as cited by AP.
In response to his statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said that Saudi authorities showed little understanding of regional issues.
“These comments are proof that Saudi Arabia supports terrorism and seeks confrontational and destructive policies in the region and towards Iran.”
“While Western Asia is filled with tension and needs cooperation and understanding among countries, making such comments is a strategic mistake and lacks political sensibility,” Qasemi said.
The Saudi Crown Prince also said that Shi’ite Iran aims to reach Mecca – the holiest site in the Islamic world.
“We will not wait until the fight is inside Saudi Arabia and we will work so that the battle is on their side, inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.”
His remark prompted Iran’s defense minister Hossein Dehghan to warn Saudi Arabia of “doing anything ignorant”.
“We warn them against doing anything ignorant, but if they do something ignorant, we will leave nowhere untouched apart from Mecca and Medina,” Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan told Al-Manar channel, as cited by Reuters.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are in the center of conflict for the influence in the Middle East and over the Islamic world. Saudi Arabia is a Sunni country, while Iran has a majority Shi’ite population.