Rouhani: Saudi Arabia can’t cover up cleric execution (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted on 14:59)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 5
By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticized Saudi Arabia for severing ties with the Islamic Republic and beheading Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric.
"Saudi Arabia can't cover up the crime of beheading a religious leader by cutting the diplomatic ties," IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying at a meeting with Denmark's Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen in Tehran Jan. 5.
Earlier on Jan. 2, Saudi Arabia executed Nimr al-Nimr on terrorism charges, followed by a strong protest from Iran, which said the execution was unjustified. Reacting to al-Nimr's execution, angry Iranians stormed on Jan. 3 the Saudi embassy in Tehran, smashing furniture and setting fire to the building before being dispersed by police.
Following the protests, Saudi Arabia said it severed diplomatic ties with Iran and urged the Islamic Republic's diplomatic mission and related entities to leave the country within 48 hours.
Rouhani, further saying that al-Nimr's beheading is not a response to criticism, called on human rights activists and Europeans to condemn Saudi Arabia's execution of the cleric.
"Iran understands that negotiation and diplomacy are the best ways for resolving tensions between the regional countries," he added.
The Danish FM too criticized Saudi Arabia's execution of the cleric and said Islam is against terrorism.
During the meeting, President Rouhani also said that under the current situation in the region, all states should cooperate to fight terrorism, adding that Iran believes the regional countries can clear the region from terrorists through unity.
Rouhani also called on the EU to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and said that as a first step the world should impose restrictions against the countries that back terrorists.
"This is not a secret anymore and everyone knows which countries provide the terrorists with funds and arms or purchase oil from them," Rouhani added.
During the meeting, Rouhani also called for expansion of economic ties between Iran and Denmark.