Iran President hopes Saudi embassy attack trial will restore confidence

AFP , Tuesday 28 Jun 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that he hopes the trial of protesters accused of ransacking the Saudi embassy in Tehran earlier this year will restore international confidence.

"Every country is responsible for the security of its foreign embassies," Rouhani said in a speech to mark a week of events on justice in Iran.

"People want to know how a bunch of rogue individuals who attacked a foreign embassy in breach of the law and against the country's public security... will be dealt with by the judiciary," he said.

The trial of 48 people is due to open in Tehran on July 18.

The Saudi embassy and its consulate in Iran's second city Mashhad were stormed and burned on January 2 in protest against the execution of a prominent cleric from Saudi Arabia's Shia minority.

The Gulf kingdom and some of its allies the next day severed diplomatic relations with Iran.

Rouhani said a "transparent" judiciary was needed to ensure "people's trust as well as the world's trust in our country".

"Today we need a growth in investment for economic prosperity and employment of our youth. We must give assurance to all entrepreneurs and investors that their capital is safe and encourage them to invest," he added.

The embassy attack was condemned by Iran's top authorities, including supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"Like the British embassy attack before it, this was against the country (Iran) and Islam, and I didn't like it," Khamenei said in January, referring to a mob ransacking Britain's embassy in Tehran in 2011.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a fierce competition for regional influence, backing opposing sides in a number of conflicts.

The two countries have also failed to conclude an agreement for Iranian pilgrims to attend this year's hajj in Saudi Arabia in September.

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