Iran’s FM to Attend Saudi Crown Prince's Funeral


Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, will attend the funeral Tuesday of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the website of Iranian state television reported.

"Mr. Salehi will leave Tehran for Riyadh, leading a high-ranking delegation, to attend the funeral of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz," Hassan Ghashghavi, a deputy foreign minister, told the broadcaster.

The body of Prince Sultan, who died Saturday in a New York hospital, was repatriated to Riyadh late Monday for a subdued funeral, in line with strict Islamic traditions applied in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The funeral was to be attended by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and other foreign dignitaries.

Tensions have heightened between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the past two weeks, since U.S. allegations that Iranian officials tried to organize the assassination of the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

Although Tehran has rubbished the accusations, Riyadh has taken them seriously and stated it was pondering "a suitable response."

Even before the plot claims, the ties between the two regional rivals were strained over Saudi Arabia's military assistance to Bahrain to put down pro-democracy protests by Shiite demonstrators.