November 18, 2016
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says Iran must change its “behavior” towards his country if it wants normal ties with the oil-rich Sunni kingdom.
The terminology was exactly the same as the Islamic Republic has used for decades with regard to the United States, saying the Americans must “change their behavior” if they want better relations with Tehran.
Jubeir told a news conference that Riyadh “wants to have peaceful relations” with Tehran and that it had tried to forge closer ties with Iran for more than three decades, but “in exchange we received nothing.”
Instead of “relations and friendship” with Iran, Saudi Arabia has been “confronted with interferences in our domestic affairs,… attacks against our embassy,” he said.
Saudi Arabia severed all links with the Islamic Republic in January after crowds attacked the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad.
Jubeir said Iran “knows what to do to have normal relations with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Islamic world, and that is to change its behavior … and the door will be open for normal relations.”
Two days before Jubeir spoke out, President Rohani told a news conference during his visit to Pakistan that Iran is not interested in seeing tensions with Saudi Arabia escalate.
“Iran is a major country in the Muslim world and Saudi Arabia has an important position as well,” he said. “If there is a problem between the two countries, it should be resolved and countries like Pakistan have made efforts in this regard.”
Saudi Arabia has vastly expanded its criticisms of Iran since the January embassy attack. Iran has responded with remarkable calm, largely ignoring hostile Saudi remarks, which is almost unheard of behavior on the part of the Islamic Republic, which does not take criticism easily.
This quiet reaction suggests that Iran is very concerned about the new Saudi hostility.