Tehran, Iran, April 15
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani refrained from attending the closing session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting.
Rouhani, along with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other officials who are in Istanbul to attend the summit, refrained from being part of the final meeting, Mehr news agency reported April 15.
The move followed anti-Iranian statements in the summit's final announcement, something pushed through by Saudi Arabia, the agency wrote.
Before the summit began, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif publicly objected to Saudi Arabia's attempt to introduce anti-Iranian articles in the draft declaration of the OIC. Zarif said such a statement would contradict the "spirit of Islamic unity and is in the interests of the Zionist regime" and warned that such destructive actions would have consequences.
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Iran after protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The storming was itself triggered by the Saudi execution of a Shia cleric. At the time, tensions were brewing over regional conflicts and a hajj stampede in Mecca that killed 464 Iranians, including top diplomats.
Rouhani attempted to strike a more conciliatory tone toward Saudi Arabia during his address at the OIC, saying, "For everyone it is clear that for Saudi Arabia, Iran is not the problem and for Iran, Saudi Arabia is not the problem. The main problem is ignorance, extremism and violence."