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Iran summons Saudi diplomat over Riyadh's allegations

27 March 2013 20:48 (UTC+04:00)
Iran summons Saudi diplomat over Riyadh's allegations

By Sara Rajabova

Iran has summoned Saudi Arabia's chargé d'affaires in Tehran over Riyadh's allegations that Iran has links to a spy cell in the Arab kingdom.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the diplomat in the absence of the Saudi ambassador on Wednesday to protest the "baseless, repetitive scenario" and request a formal explanation from the Saudi side, Press TV reported.

Meanwhile, scores of Saudi clerics and activists urged the Al Saud government to release 18 people arrested last week for allegedly having links to Iran.

The 18 denied the accusations and reportedly blame their government for using such pretexts to divert public attention from the Saudi people's demands for reform and the improvement of the kingdom's human rights situation.

Last week, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast dismissed Saudi Arabia's claims about the presence of an Iranian national in an alleged spy network in the country.

Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement on March 19 that the country's authorities have arrested 18 people, including an Iranian and a Lebanese, on charges of espionage for a foreign country.

"Sixteen Saudis, an Iranian and a Lebanese were arrested in coordinated and simultaneous operations in four regions of the kingdom," including the capital Riyadh and the city of Mecca, the statement added.

The Iranian spokesperson dismissed the allegation. "Raising such baseless issues at the media levels is merely for domestic consumption," Mehmanparast said.

He also criticized Saudi Arabia's handling of the issue.

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