Saudi intends to build ‘favorable relationship’ with Iran: FM

The Cradle, September 25, 2022 — Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud also affirmed the kingdom’s support for extending the truce in Yemen.

The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) intends to establish a tight relationship with Iran.

As part of a diplomatic effort to restore bilateral ties, representatives from both countries have conducted several rounds of discussions in Baghdad.

“We certainly intend to build a positive relationship with our neighbors in Iran,” the foreign minister told France 24 in an interview on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York.

However, he said that there remain differences with Tehran that have prevented him from meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

In July, the Iranian foreign minister told Iraqi mediators that Tehran is ready to enter a new phase of relations with Riyadh, hoping it would “eventually lead to the return of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s relations to normal.”

Iraq has hosted five rounds of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran since last April. The sixth round of talks was scheduled for July, but due to the “developments in Iraq,” it was delayed until further notice.

Earlier the same month, Amir-Abdollahian praised Iraq’s “constructive” role in advancing regional talks and noted progress in the last five rounds of negotiations with Saudi Arabia.

In 2016, KSA announced it had severed diplomatic ties with Iran after Iranians protested the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia at its embassy in Tehran.

The monarchy adopted a hostile foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, particularly throughout the presidency of former US president Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers were closely allied.

Recently, the Gulf state began redirecting its diplomatic course with its regional rival through third parties to salvage ties.

Nevertheless, Riyadh and Tehran are in conflict over several regional issues, particularly the long-lasting Saudi-led war on Yemen.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that Baghdad has succeeded in bridging the gap between KSA and Iran through talks.

“We will contribute to anything that would help stabilize the region,” the Iraqi prime minister said.

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