DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:00 PM) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stated that Iran will restore its ties to Saudi Arabia if Riyadh complies with two conditions, being the cessation of all ties to Israel and the immediate ending of all military operations against Yemen.
Rouhani made the statement during an address to the parliament in Tehran on Sunday, stating that the Islamic Republic of Iran has one major issue with the Saudis: the fact that it “bows to Israel”. If the country were to rely on itself and regional partners, Rouhani claimed, relations between Tehran and Riyadh could actually prosper.
“Saudi Arabia should suspend it bombardment of Yemen and stop begging for contacts with the Zionist regime (…) We want Saudi Arabia to stop two things: the misguided friendship with Israel and the inhumane bombardment of Yemen.”
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been particularly tense ever since mass stampede killed hundreds of Iranian pilgrims during Hajj in September 2015. The incident has been widely blamed on the Saudi regime’s lack of interest in the safety of pilgrims, particularly Shias. A few months afterwards, relations further soured when Saudi Arabia executed influential Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on dubious charges.
However, it was Saudi Arabia that officially broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016, following mass protests in front of Saudi diplomatic missions in the country.
Hassan Rouhani referenced US president Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the “capital of Israel”, and stated that the decision marks a next phase in a plan to dominate and subjugate the Middle East.
“After regional powers’ conspiracy to let terrorist groups dominate the oppressed people in the region was defeated, the Americans today have launched a new plot with the help of the Zionists, which is an aggression on the sacred Quds (Jerusalem),” Rouhani said, referencing the recent defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq as a defeat for the US and Israel’s foreign policy.
“We were not, are not and will not be silent in the face of the conspiracies of the big powers, the US, the arrogance and the Zionism,” the President concluded.