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Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Conference on Iran

 

Amb Osama Nugali

Spokesperson

In the name of God,

I would first like to welcome you, and present to you in detail the developments of the aggressive events at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and general consulate in Mashhad. The minister will join the conference later, to talk about developments and updates of the issue.

With regard to the attacks on the two Saudi missions, the sequence of events were as follows (all times are Tehran time):

On Saturday morning, January 2, 2016, the Embassy in Tehran received several phone calls threatening to kill embassy employees.

Promptly at 2:20 p.m. crowds started to gather in front of the embassy. The Chargé d’affaires immediately contacted the Iranian Foreign Ministry to inform them and to request protection for the embassy, but did not get any response.

At approximately 9:30 p.m., another crowd gathered in front of the embassy and began throwing stones and petrol bombs at the embassy.

At about 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, January 3, the crowd protesting in front of the embassy was replaced with a new group. Two members of the new group broke into the embassy building and burned a section of the building.

Around 2:30 a.m. crowds broke into the embassy building. The Chargé contacted the Iranian Foreign Ministry again, but he did not get any response.

The Chargé tried to seek protection to inspect damages at the embassy, but he could not do so until Sunday evening, January 3. The building was in ruins and its contents looted.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, January 3, power was cut off for about an hour to the neighborhood where the embassy staff resides.

With regard to the attacks on the Consulate General in Mashhad, events took place as follows:

At 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 2, 2016, a taxi broke through the outer security barrier gate at the consulate without being blocked by the Iranian authorities in attempt to break through the inner gate of the consulate.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 2, crowds of approximately 2,000 people gathered in front of the consulate building and began throwing stones and petrol bombs at the consulate building. A number of people unsuccessfully attempted to break into the building. The Iranian authorities did not make any effort to prevent such criminal acts or arrest perpetrators.

This is not the first time that Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad encountered such attacks. It was preceded by similar attacks over the past years under the watchful eyes of the Iranian government and without taking any measures to maintain the security and integrity of the Saudi missions and its personnel, or to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Based on these attacks, the Kingdom took the following actions:

First: Iranian Ambassador in Saudi Arabia was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Saturday, January 2, 2016, and was handed a memorandum of condemnation putting full responsibility for these attacks on the Iranian regime for failing to live up to their responsibility as a host country to provide protection to foreign missions according to international conventions and laws in this regard.

Second: The Kingdom has informed the UN Security Council of these attacks and also briefed the GCC, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and requested the UN Security Council to ensure the protection of diplomatic missions and their staff in accordance with the international conventions and laws.

Third: The Kingdom was in contact with all friendly countries to clarify the aggressive statements made by the Iranian government and the provoking that led to the outrage against the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and Consulate General in Mashhad.

Fourth: An emergency evacuation plan was put in place in response to the crisis to evacuate the family members of Embassy and consulate staff. A plan was in place to evacuate them on Emirate Airlines departing Tehran on Saturday at 7:20 p.m. GMT. However, Iranian authorities blocked their departure on the schedule flight. They are now scheduled to leave Tehran at 10:00 p.m. GMT. We would like to thank the United Arab Emirates for its help in the evacuation process from Iran. We also thank the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the League of Arab States, and a number of countries for their strong positions against the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic mission in Iran.

In conclusion I would like to note that none of the members of the diplomatic mission in Tehran and Mashhad have been harmed. The Kingdom is keen to ensure the safety and security of the staff that remains in Iran.

Thank you, and the Minister will join the conference shortly.

 

  

His Excellency Adel Al-Jubeir

Foreign Minister, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 

Opening Remarks

After you have been briefed on the details of the attacks on the Saudi missions in Iran, I would like to point out that the Iranian regime has a long record in the inviolability of foreign diplomatic missions, including, for example, the attack on the US embassy in 1979, and attack on the British Embassy in 2011, and yesterday, the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and general consulate in Mashhad.

These ongoing attacks on diplomatic missions constitute a flagrant violation of all international agreements, charters and treaties.

Also, these attacks come after aggressive statements issued by prominent Iranian figures, a blatant provocation that encouraged attacks on the Kingdom’s missions.

These attacks are considered a continuation of Iranian regime’s aggressive policy in the region, which aims to destabilize the security and stability, and to provoke conflict and wars.

And this is confirmed with the Iranian regime providing a safe haven on its territory for al-Qaeda ‎leaders since 2001.‎ The Iranian regime has also provided protection for a number of those involved in the bombing of the Khobar Towers in 1996.

In addition to these acts of aggression, the Iranian regime is smuggling weapons and explosives and planting terrorist cells in the region, including the Kingdom, to spread turmoil.

The history of Iran is full of negative and aggressive interferences in the affairs of Arab countries, and is always accompanied by devastation and destruction, and killing of innocent lives.

The Kingdom, under these facts, announces the severance of diplomatic relations with Iran, and requests all members of the Iranian diplomatic mission (embassy – consular – of the two offices) to leave within 48 hours.

The Iranian Ambassador has been informed of this.