Iran Ready to Hold Talks, Mend Ties with Saudi Arabia
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed Tehran’s readiness to hold talks with Saudi Arabia whenever the Kingdom’s officials are ready for a meeting.
“We are ready for consultation and talks with Saudi Arabia’s officials whenever the brothers in Saudi Arabia are prepared, and we consider that (bilateral meeting) as beneficial to both countries, the region and the Islamic world,” Zarif said on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
The Iranian minister’s comments came as he wrapped up a three-leg tour of the Persian Gulf Arab states on Monday.
In the third and final destination of his two-day tour of regional countries in the Qatari capital of Doha, Zarif on Monday reiterated Tehran’s position that Iran considers improving relations with neighboring countries as its foremost priority.
“The priority of the Islamic Republic of Iran is having friendly relations with neighboring countries and my trip to the region is meant to convey our message of friendship,” he said in his meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha.
And before his departure from Oman on Monday, Zarif had told AFP that Iran and Saudi Arabia should work together towards achieving regional “stability”.
“I believe that our relations with Saudi Arabia should expand as we consider Saudi Arabia as an extremely important country in the region and the Islamic world,” Zarif said.
“We believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region.”
“I am ready to go to Saudi Arabia, but it is just a matter of being able to arrange a mutually convenient time. I will visit it soon inshallah (God willing),” he explained.
This turnabout in Iran's foreign policy and its focus on improving ties and reducing tensions with regional countries seem to be in line with President Hassan Rouhani's outreach to the outside world.
Earlier on September 19, Rouhani hailed Saudi Arabia as a close friend of the Islamic Republic, and expressed both nations’ willingness to smooth over "trivial tensions" that have strained bilateral relations.
Referring to Saudi Arabia as a “friend and brother” of Iran, the Iranian president had announced that both sides were “willing to remove trivial tensions from the path (of bilateral ties) in order to fulfill bilateral and the Islamic world’s interests.”
He had also stated that Tehran and Riyadh have a lot of common interests and enjoy regional commonalities, and emphasized the need for upgrading the level of interactions between the two Muslim countries.
“This issue (expansion of ties) has been emphasized both in the Saudi king’s congratulatory letter to me and in my letter to thank him,” Rouhani added.