Saudi Diplomat in Tehran Not Drunk, Foreign Ministry Says

Saudi Arabia denied media reports that a Saudi diplomat was intoxicated when his car was involved in a car accident that resulted in the death of one man in northeastern Tehran, the daily al-Watan reported Wednesday. “It is untrue that he was intoxicated,” said Osama Nugali, a spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The diplomat has left the hospital and is being treated according to normal diplomatic practices.”

Iran’s PressTV reported the accident Monday and said four bottles of alcoholic beverage have been found in the car. A spokesman for Iran Foreign Ministry told the television channel that the government is following up on the case. “The Foreign Ministry immediately followed the issue through judicial and diplomatic channels after being informed [of the accident] and has taken the necessary measures in this regard,” spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday, according to PressTV.

Late on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced that 18 people, including one Iranian citizen, had been arrested for spying. Interior Minister spokesman Gen. Maj. Mansour al-Turki told state television it was “an espionage case” and that the suspects had been “involved in a spying cell for a state.” The spokesman did not name the foreign state, but local media reports pointed to Iran. The case is likely to heighten the tension between the two countries that are locked in a struggle for influence across the region.