Saudi-Iran rapprochement ‘not just tactical agreement’: Amir-Abdollahian

The Cradle, May 30, 2023 —

The Iranian foreign minister said that the agreement to restore ties with the kingdom represented a priority in Tehran’s foreign policy.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told French media outlet Le Figaro on 30 May that the recent Chinese-brokered reconciliation deal reached in March between Iran and Saudi Arabia was “not just a tactical agreement,” but instead represented a priority in Iranian foreign policy.

“Relations with neighbors are a priority in the current government’s foreign policy. Therefore, we conducted security negotiations for several months in Baghdad and Amman,” referring to last year’s initial talks.

“Finally, during the Chinese president’s visit to Saudi Arabia [in December last year], a strong idea was put on the table, and the result was Chinese mediation that made it possible to take the decisive step,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

“We talked about the economic component during my last meeting with my Saudi counterpart, and we will agree to develop our economic and trade relations in the coming months and years,” he added.

In April, Amir-Abdollahian met with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan, in China for the first official meeting in seven years.

As part of the agreement, Tehran and Riyadh have agreed to open a joint trade office.

Just days after the signing of the 10 March reconciliation agreement, Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said that investments between the two countries can happen “very quickly.”

The agreement has been seen by many across the region as a representative of a legitimate Saudi policy shift and of the kingdom’s intention to distance itself from Washington and the west, in favor of regional prosperity and positive ties with neighboring states.

Several regional political figures and officials have lauded the agreement. At the end of last month, senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh referred to the deal as beneficial to the “entire region, to the Zionists’ dismay.”

The rapprochement also falls in line with President Ebrahim Raisi’s roadmap for balanced economic and foreign policies.

In a speech last year commemorating the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Raisi said: “We must pay close attention to all countries, particularly our neighbors.”

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