Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that the United States and Saudi Arabia are responsible for the rising tensions in the Middle East.
“I believe our neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia, do not want to (de-escalate),” Zarif said Saturday when asked about the status of the relationship at the Munich Security Conference. He added that he suspected Riyadh was operating under the influence of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” on Iran.
According to CNBC, Zarif also accused his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, who attended the Munich Security Conference as well, of reshuffling the security forum’s agenda so that the two of them wouldn’t have to meet.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran will never hold talks with the United States (US) under pressure.
The Iranian President also said that the US started to exert maximum pressure on Iran more than 20 months ago but Tehran has managed to better the conditions over the past six months.
“Iran will never negotiate under pressure … We will never yield to America’s pressure and we will not negotiate from a position of weakness. America’s ‘maximum pressure’ towards Iran is doomed to failure,” Rouhani said.
Although the reimposed US sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy, slashing its oil exports, Tehran has repeatedly dismissed talks over any new deal, saying they are possible only if the United States returns to the pact and lifts trade curbs.
“America’s ‘maximum pressure’ toward Iran is doomed to failure … our enemy (the United States) is very well aware that their pressure is inefficient,” Rouhani said.
Iran has been involved in decades of regional proxy wars with its key regional rival Saudi Arabia, from Syria to Iraq. European and Arab states have since scrambled to avert a full-fledged conflict between the two sides.
“Securing peace and stability in the sensitive region of Middle East and in the Persian Gulf is impossible without Iran’s help,” Rouhani said.
“Several countries have delivered messages to us (from Saudi Arabia) … we don’t have issues with Saudi Arabia that cannot be resolved,” he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday Riyadh had contacted Iran after the killing of Soleimani, but when Iran had responded the contact had ended. He suggested the United States had pressured Riyadh.
Zarif’s comments were dismissed by his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud who said there had been neither private messages nor direct contacts between the two countries.