US’ message to Saudi Arabia, Iran: Show restraint

In the backdrop of escalating tensions in the Middle East, the US has asked Saudi Arabia and Iran to show restraint as the tensions between the two regional powers erupted into a full-blown diplomatic crisis over the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric.

US Secretary of State John Kerry contacted the foreign ministers of the two countries, asking them to reduce the tensions in the region.  In a statement, the White House asked both Iran and Saudi Arabia to take steps to de-escalate the situation. “We do continue to be concerned about the need for both the Iranians and the Saudis to de-escalate the situation in the Middle East,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

Mr Earnest asked Iran and Saudi Arabia to show restraint and avoid further inflaming sectarian tensions between Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and Shia-ruled Iran. “That we are urging all sides to show restraint and to not further inflame tensions that are on quite vivid display in the region. Mr Kerry has been in touch with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. US diplomatic officials in Saudi Arabia have been in touch with their counterparts to convey this message,” Mr Earnest said.

“We have seen a lot of volatility and instability in the Middle East has a tendency to break down along sectarian lines. It is not a coincidence. We believe there’s more that can be done by people on all sides to try to bridge those divides in a way that advances the interests of countries all across the region,” he added.

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