TEHRAN, Jan 11: The war of words between Iran and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has escalated, with the two Middle East rivals swapping accusations about endangering regional security and targeting their respective embassies, says an Al Jazeera report.
The feud first erupted last week after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in response to the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia religious leader in Riyadh. The incident set off a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic and economic reprisals.
Speaking from Cairo on Sunday, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, renewed the Saudi accusation that Iran was interfering in Arab affairs and instigating “sectarian strife” in the region.
Iran responded by accusing Saudi warplanes of bombing its embassy in Yemen and that Riyadh was using the row to hurt peace talks in Syria.
“The gap between Iran and Saudi Arabia is only getting wider by the day,” Saeid Golkar, an Iranian expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera.
Golkar said the worsening situation “makes it more difficult for the two nations to establish rapprochement in the short term. It is unlikely that the two countries would engage in a direct armed conflict. Instead, they may resort to proxy wars in the region including in Yemen and Syria.”
In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Barbara Serra, Fawaz Gerges, head of the Middle East Studies at the London School of Economics, said that given the current diplomatic condition, he fears that conflict will continue in Syria and “nothing will come out” of the upcoming talks, where Saudi and Iran are also at odds.