US says Saudi-Iran tension may hamper anti-DAESH efforts

US official says tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran may hinder anti-DAESH efforts in Middle East

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

McGurk, the United States' new envoy to the coalition it leads against DAESH speaks to reporters during a news conference at the US embassy in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad

A senior US envoy for the coalition forces fighting against the DAESH terrorist group, Brett McGurk, said on Tuesday that high tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran might affect anti-terrorism efforts in the Middle East.

He said that the US is concerned that terrorists could take advantage of polarisation in the region.

"So far we have not seen any impact on the overall ISIL [DAESH] campaign," McGurk said.

"Obviously, it’s something that we’re concerned about, and that’s why the secretary [John Kerry] has spent so much time on it." 

According to statements by State Department spokesman John Kirby, Kerry will remain in close communication with regional leaders, after having spoken to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif since Monday.

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia escalated after the execution of cleric Nimr Baqir al Nimr by Saudi Arabia. He was one of 47 people executed on Saturday on charges on commiting terror crimes.

Early on Sunday, Iranians protested Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al Nimr and stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Following the protests Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran and gave 48 hours for an Iranian diplomatic mission and related entities to leave the country.

Bahrain, a Shiite-majority Gulf state ruled by a Sunni family, and Sudan followed Riyadh in severing ties with Iran on Monday and recalled Iranian ambassadors in protest against the attacks on Saudi missions.

The United Arab Emirates also announced that the country has downgraded its diplomatic relations with Iran, recalling its ambassador from Tehran.

TRTWorld, AA