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    Iranian protesters chant slogans as they hold pictures of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration against the execution of Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran January, 3, 2016

    Russia Ready to Become Mediator for Saudi Arabia, Iran - Deputy Foreign Minister

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    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has said Moscow is ready to become a mediator in Saudi Arabia-Iran contacts as the relations between the two nations remain tense.

    RABAT (Sputnik) — Bogdanov said Russia Wednesday is prepared to provide a negotiations platform for Riyadh-Tehran talks because "much depends, especially in fighting terrorism, on their mutual understanding and cooperation."

    Relations between Riyadh and Tehran have been strained for a long time over a number of issues, including geopolitical standoff as Saudi Arabia considers Iran its main regional threat.

    Besides, the two countries are facing differences in interpretations of Islam, since the majority of Iran's population is Shiite Muslims, while Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Islam country. The relation between two countries has further worsened due to oil market competition and Iran's nuclear deal with the United States.

    In January 2016, Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran over an attack on its embassy in Tehran following the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudi Arabian authorities. In August 2017, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the two countries had entered the phase of a thaw in their relations, and the Saudi and Iranian diplomats were working on reviving diplomatic exchange.


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