Thursday, August 25, 2016


Persian Letters

Iranian, U.A.E. Ministers Trade Twitter Digs In Saudi Standoff

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (left)  and U.A.E. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (Photos: RIA Novosti/Sputnik)
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (left) and U.A.E. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (Photos: RIA Novosti/Sputnik)
By Golnaz Esfandiari

The diplomatic crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia has spilled onto Twitter, where the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) -- Riyadh's staunch ally -- triggered a war of words by mocking an opinion piece by his Iranian counterpart published in The New York Times.

In the January 10 op-ed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Saudi Arabia of "sponsoring extremists and promoting sectarian hatred" in the region. He also denounced the kingdom's human rights record and recent execution of 47 prisoners, including prominent Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death prompted the storming of Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. 

U.A.E. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan hit back at Zarif and Iran, which is also accused of serious human rights violations, with a tweet to his 2.58 million followers.

"When I read the Iranian foreign minister's article in The New York Times, I thought it was written by the foreign minister of a Scandinavian country," Nahyan wrote in Arabic, punctuating the tweet with a smiley.

Zarif fired back with a tweet to his 363,000 followers that did not mention Nahyan by name but left little doubt about whom he was attacking.

"Diplomacy is the domain of the mature; not arrogant nouveau-riche," Zarif tweeted on January 13. 

Hours later, Nahyan snarkily reminded Zarif of basic principles of international diplomacy.

"Don't torch, take over or ransack embassies and consulates. Don't take diplomats hostage," Nahyan tweeted in English, adding the hashtag #DiploMaturity101. 

Saudi Arabia and its allies have severed or downgraded ties with Iran following the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran earlier this month.

Zarif and other Iranian officials have strongly condemned the attack while vowing to bring those responsible to justice. One security official was reportedly fired over the incident.

The U.A.E., which is home to many Iranians and Iranian-owned business, downgraded ties with the Islamic republic over the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.

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by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
January 17, 2016 13:48
Let's not get too enthused about the deal yet. They have not even completed the preparatory phases of implementing the agreement. They did take the entire US diplomatic staff hostage for 444 days. They were being released as Ronald Reagan was being sworn in as President. I wonder what he had threatened to do if they didn't release them?

by: Dana from: USA
January 18, 2016 16:19
History: How U.S. government created Islamic Iran? During Cold War, the U.S. government pushed the overthrow of the elected Iranian prime minister, Mossadeq, in the pretext that "his nationalist aspirations would lead to an eventual communist takeover... After widespread rioting - and with help from the CIA and British intelligence services - Mossadeq was defeated and the Shah returned to power, ensuring support for Western oil interests... Many Iranians hated the Shah, and felt that the U.S. was against them," thus the Islamic revolution in Iran.
The U.S. government has always created problems in the first place in order to solve the problems later.

by: Robert from: UK
January 18, 2016 16:21
It is foolish on Iran's part to decrease its nuclear capabilities. The Wolves in Washington did that with Libya too, and it paid the price. But who can blame the Iranians? Victims of unilateral sanctions since so long for daring to pursue an independent foreign policy and stand up for national interests. Iran has now given guarantees that it wont be able to manufacture a nuclear bomb for about a decade at least. But Washington has a track record of going back on its guarantees and attacking smaller Nations.

The hope for peace lies with Iran's diplomacy. Iraq, Afghanistan and most of the other victims in the Middle East had no powerful allies that would actually confront America. But, Iran has Russia's strong backing, and I highly doubt that Kremlin would allow White House to have its way with one of its core allies. The international geo-politics necessitates a strong, stable regional ally at Russia's troublesome underbelly.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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Seen anything in the Iranian blogosphere that you think Persian Letters should cover? If so, contact Golnaz Esfandiari at esfandiarig@rferl.org