Saudi-Iran dialogue at ‘very good’ stage: Iranian official

The Cradle, August 20 2022 — Last month, the two countries expressed a wish to renew negotiations through Iraqi mediation The spokesman for the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in Iran’s Shura Council, Abu Al-Fadl Amoei, told media on 19 August that talks to restore ties with Saudi Arabia are at a “very good” stage.

“Our negotiations in the Gulf states region are being followed up seriously … revitalizing bilateral relations is an important issue that requires work and time, and we should not expect to achieve these goals immediately … our primary focus is on preserving and securing national interests,” Amoei was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

The spokesman said that dialogue with Riyadh has reached “a very good level,” expressing hope for a new round of negotiations as a “prelude” to a final revival of political and diplomatic relations.

“Although Iran, as an active state in the region, may criticize Saudi Arabia’s positions on regional and international issues, this [should] not negate the existence of a bilateral relationship to follow up on issues and exchange views,” Amoei added.

Relations between the two countries were initially severed in 2016, when Riyadh executed a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nemr Al-Nemr, in the kingdom, prompting angry Iranian protestors to attack to attack the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Recently, however, the two countries have expressed a desire to improve relations, and have held several rounds of negotiations through mediation from Baghdad.

In early June, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi said that talks between representatives from Tehran and Riyadh have entered advanced stages and have made “remarkable progress.”

On 26 June, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran is in favor of the re-opening of embassies in Tehran and Riyadh.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced on 13 July that Tehran and Riyadh are interested in resuming negotiations.

Although significant progress has been made in talks between the two countries, a number of issues have yet to be resolved, most notably including Saudi Arabia’s brutal war on Yemen, where Riyadh and its allies have been fighting the Ansarallah resistance movement since March 2015.

Despite several extensions of the UN-brokered humanitarian ceasefire, including most recently on 2 August, the Saudi-led coalition continues to launch attacks and violate the truce.

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