Saudi cutting ties will not hurt Iran: Govt spokesman

Saudi Arabia's severance of diplomatic relations with Tehran will not hurt Iran or damage its development, the government spokesman said on Tuesday.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 05, 2016, 18:03 PM IST

Tehran: Saudi Arabia's severance of diplomatic relations with Tehran will not hurt Iran or damage its development, the government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Mohammad Bagher Nobakht was speaking after Riyadh cut ties to protest the attack on its embassy and a consulate by Iranian demonstrators angered over the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain and Sudan also broke diplomatic relations with Iran, and a number of other Arab countries have recalled their envoys, in sympathy with Riyadh.

The deterioration of relations with Saudi Arabia "will have no impact on Iran's national development," Nobakht said, without elaborating.

Instead, "it is Saudi Arabia that will suffer", Nobakht said.

The spokesman also reiterated Tehran's harsh criticism of the execution Saturday of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

"We condemn the inhumane, barbaric and Daesh-like execution of the cleric Sheikh Nimr," said Nobakht, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

Riyadh is trying to compensate for its political failures in regional conflicts, according to Nobakht.

"This is a reaction to their failures in Iraq, Syria, and... Yemen, which Saudi Arabia wants to compensate for", he said, without elaborating.

Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni Muslim power in the Middle East, and Shiite power Iran have long competed for influence in the region. Even before Nimr's execution, relations were strained over the two nations' backing opposing factions in those three countries.

Nobakht also criticised the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions, saying they were unbecoming of Iranians.

They "had no justification in accordance with religious teachings or the point of view of international rules", and were "beneath the Iranian people", he said.

Iranian officials of all stripes condemned the attacks, and over 40 people have been arrested in connection with them.

Nobakht also compared Riyadh's "immature reaction" to the attacks with Iran's "restraint" after 464 of the country's pilgrims were killed in a stampede at the annual hajj near Mecca in September.