Rouhani writes to the Saudi and Bahraini Kings: "move" towards peace and stability

Tehran opens to dialogue to resolve disputes between rival powers in the region. US pressure on Iran must not "create distances" between nations that share "cultural and religious" elements. The mediation role played by Kuwait and the objective of direct talks at another level.


Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sent a letter to the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, re-launching an invitation to dialogue to resolve disputes in the Middle East region. A Tehran government spokesman Ali Rabiei underlines the opening of the main Shiite power towards Sunni rivals with whom there have long been strong tensions, recently tightened following the attack on Saudi oil wells.

During the weekly government press conference held on November 4, Raibei explained that the letter reveals the policy of the Islamic Republic in the "search for peace and stability". He added that the pressure exerted by the United States on the Islamic Republic should not "create distances" between neighboring nations that share "cultural and religious" and "long lived in peace" elements.

The pro-government newspapers in Iran define the letter as one of the "practical steps" taken by the Rouhani administration in the wake of peace and dialogue. A "peace plan" to resolve "tensions in the Persian Gulf" and to promote "collaboration" in stark contrast to "the US military presence" in the area. The letter follows the "opening" speech at the UN in September during the 74th UN General Assembly and the "non-aggression pact" between Gulf nations proposed in May.

According to diplomatic circles, Kuwait would play a mediating role by delivering the Iranian president's letter to the two kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The content of the letter remains unknown, but according to some sources it contains - among others - the proposal for direct high-level talks between countries, organized and mediated by Kuwait officials.

At the moment there are no official reactions or comments from the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, in response to this letter. According to some critical voices, the letter would only be an attempt to undermine the alliance between Riyadh and Washington, which the election of President Donald Trump boosted after the gradual distancing under Barack Obama's second term.

The escalation of tension between Tehran and Riyadh dates back to January 2016, when an angry mob assaulted the Saudi embassy in Iran. Attacks triggered by Riyadh's decision to execute 47 "terrorists" at the beginning of the year, including the Shiite dignitary Nimr al-Nimr. In response, several governments have withdrawn their ambassador to Iran, including Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Sudan, triggering a political (and religious) crisis in the Islamic world between Sunnis and Shiites.

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