Iran ready to restore ties with Saudi Arabia at any time

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Tehran is ready to restore relations with Saudi Arabia at any time.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Abdollahian described dialogue with Saudi Arabia as “positive and constructive”, adding that within days Iranian representatives to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will return to Jeddah, which is a “positive step”.

He stressed that Tehran believes in the importance of having a broad regional dialogue that includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey to solve the region’s problems, explaining that Saudi Arabia wants a dialogue with Tehran, which only focuses on bilateral relations.

On 3 January, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan said in a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the capital, Amman, that “Arab hands are stretched out” to Iran, on the condition that the latter responds to Arab concerns related to “the security and stability of the region”.

Bin Farhan said he had discussed with Safadi the destabilising role Iran is playing in the Arab world.

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Direct talks were held last year between Tehran and Riyadh in an effort to achieve reconciliation after decades of regional rivalry, with Iraq announcing in August that it had hosted a series of secret dialogues. Jordan also announced that it hosted some of the talks and the United States has expressed its support for the efforts.

Many saw the dialogue as a step towards a possible solution to the tensions caused by Iran and Saudi Arabia’s aims to expand their influence in the region through proxy groups. The two countries formally cut ties with one another in 2016.

While those regional tensions were subtly seen in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, they resulted in physical conflict in Yemen where the Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iran-backed Shia Houthi group since 2015.

Reports also emerged in October that Tehran and Riyadh were planning on reopening their consulates in each other’s countries over the following weeks.

Over the months, however, the talks have failed to yield progress, with Iran last month admitting that there was no development in the dialogue.


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