The Saudi minister for Gulf Affairs Thamir Al-Subhan has stated that Saudi Arabia does not require reconciliation with Iran, though he indicated at the same time that he was not aware of information regarding the mediation between the two countries. Al-Subhan said in a statement to Al-Hayat: “We have received nothing regarding mediation between Riyadh and Tehran. Saudi Arabia does not require reconciliation with Iran.” He added that “the Iranians know what they must do if they want an improvement in relations with the kingdom.”
According to Reuters, Iranian state television yesterday said that the Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari had carried messages between Riyadh and Tehran in an ongoing effort to contain the dispute between Iraq’s two neighbouring countries. The network quoted Al-Jaafari’s statement that “Steps towards reconciliation have been continuous since last year,” and that “oral messages were transferred between officials of both countries during the past several months, which will try to draw their positions closer together.”
Al-Hayat on Saturday published the announcement by the Kuwaiti deputy minster of foreign affairs Khaled Al-Jarallah that Kuwait will pass a message to the Iranian side on behalf of the Gulf Co-operation Council . Al-Jarallah confirmed that “communications were still ongoing with the Iranians to find a suitable time to deliver this message.” On the other hand, the Iranian Ministry of Communications yesterday blocked the Saudi Press Agency website. The news agency Miyzan, which belongs to the Iranian judiciary, quoted a Ministry of Communications source who said that the Ministry of Culture, which is concerned with public information, had asked the Ministry to block the Saudi Press Agency’s official site.
Sources in Iran confirmed that they were unable to browse the SPA site without the use of programs for circumventing the block. Use of such programs to bypass website restrictions has been widespread in Iran since 2009 .
An official source at the Ministry of Communications said that the reason for the block was a request from the Ministry of Culture, and that a spokesman for the Assembly of Experts and Nateq Nouri, head of the Inspection Committee at the office of the Supreme Leader, have previously warned Iranians about Persian-language Saudi sites, especially ‘SPA Farsi’ and ‘Farsi News.’ These sites were able to reach Iranian readers who had long been monopolised by the Iranian government, and to correct misinformation and improve the negative image of Saudi Arabia which had been propagated by Iranian media.
Commenting on the block, Hani Al-Ghafli, a spokesperson at the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Media, told Al-Hayat that SPA publishes in six different languages, including Persian, and this block does not really worry us, because the spread of information is no longer a monopoly. Information now reaches us through websites, social media, or instant messaging like ‘Whatsapp’ and other programs. Al-Ghafli added that the block is not a surprising move by the Iranian regime, which has previously attacked the Saudi Embassy there. Demonstrators set fire to the building last year, prompting Riyadh to sever diplomatic, trade, and transport links with Iran.
Translated by Conor Fagan
Original article found here.