China Urges Tehran, Riyadh to Show Restraint, Engage in Dialogue
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Chinese government expressed concerns over Tehran-Riyadh diplomatic row, and called on the two nations to show restraint and settle their dispute over the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric by the monarchy through “dialogue” and “consultations”.
“I have expressed our concerns over the situation there on many occasions. The Chinese side hopes that relevant parties could remain calm, exercise restraint, and properly address their disputes through dialogues and consultations,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a press briefing on Thursday.
China remains committed to promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, Chunying said, adding, “Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming is now in Saudi Arabia for a visit and he will then travel to Iran. He will have an in-depth exchange of views with both sides on the situation in the region. In Beijing, China has also reached out to relevant countries. We hope that the situation in the Middle East will ease up.”
The Saudi government on January 3 announced that Riyadh was severing its diplomatic relations with Tehran following angry protests in Tehran at the execution of Sheikh Nimr by Riyadh.
Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in Tehran's first response that by cutting diplomatic ties, Riyadh could not cover up "its major mistake of executing Sheikh Nimr".
Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 prisoners, including Sheikh Nimr, drew global condemnation on January 2.
The executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading. The bodies were then hanged from gibbets in the most severe form of punishment available in the kingdom's law.
Sheikh Nimr had been detained in July 2012 on charges of delivering anti-regime speeches and defending political prisoners.