Saudi Arabia’s King Salman urged arch-rival Iran on Wednesday to abandon an expansionist ideology that has “harmed” its own people, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.
A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.
The European Union yesterday urged Iran to show “maximum restraint” in handling protests that left several people dead, urging an end to violence.
“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realises there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practises, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shura Council.
The region’s leading Shia and Sunni powers have no diplomatic ties and are at odds over a range of issues, including the wars in Syria and Yemen.
“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practises of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people”.
Saudi leaders regularly accuse Iran of stirring conflicts by supporting Shia movements in the region.
Tehran denies the charges and in turn says Riyadh supports radical Islamist groups.
Separately, the Saudi foreign ministry said it welcomed a US decision this week to halt sanctions waivers for Iran’s Fordow plant.