TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has no plan to visit Saudi Arabia in the near future, an Iranian Foreign Ministry official told IRNA on Sunday.
“At the present time, a visit to Saudi Arabia by the foreign minister is not on the agenda,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in response to media reports saying that preparations are being made for Zarif’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
Amir-Abdollahian also said that Tehran welcomes a visit by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal to Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office last year, has announced that one of his foreign policy priorities is to improve Iran’s relations with the countries in the region, especially Persian Gulf Arab states.
In a diplomatic push meant to boost ties with the country’s neighbors, the Iranian foreign minister has visited a number of Persian Gulf Arab states since last November, but he has not yet been to Saudi Arabia.
On May 13, the Saudi foreign minister said that Riyadh had invited Zarif to attend a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, which was held on June 18 and 19.
But later Zarif said he could not take up the invitation to visit Saudi Arabia because the proposed dates clashed with a round of nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers which was held in Vienna from June 16 to 20.