Iran has always been ready for talks with Saudis: Kharrazi

February 5, 2020 - 17:12

TEHRAN - Kamal Kharrazi, chairman of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, said on Wednesday that Iran has always been ready to hold talks with Saudi Arabia, noting Riyadh must change its aggressive policies.

“We have always been ready to hold talks with Saudi Arabia. However, unfortunately, the rulers of this country are not the decision makers and the United States’ interests are involved,” Kharrazi said during a meeting with two noted Lebanese journalists.

Kharrazi said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates must change their “aggressive policies”, especially toward the Yemeni war.

“More than four years of war in Yemen has proved that problems of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cannot be solved through war, and it is essential for them to submit to the Yemenis’ demands… and let this country form a democratic government,” said Kharrazi, a veteran politician who was Iran’s foreign minister from 1197 to 2005.

In a tweet, written in Arabic, in January, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “Iran is still interested in holding talks with its neighbors. We announce our readiness to participate in any collaborative action to serve regional interests.” 

“We welcome any step which restore hope to the regional people and brings stability and prosperity,” Zarif added.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads over a number of issues including the Saudi war on Yemen and Riyadh’s support for Trump’s anti-Iran moves.

Saudi Foreign Minister Farhan Al Saud told Reuters on January 22 that Riyadh was open to talks with Tehran. However, he leveled some accusations against Iran. The Saudi minister said Iran should act like a normal country. In response, Zarif said a normal country does not invade its neighbors, an open reference to the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has welcomed a readiness by Tehran and Riyadh to hold dialogue to reduce tensions.

“We call for clearing up misunderstanding between two brotherly countries of Iran and Saudi Arabia,” IRNA quoted him as saying on January 24 on the sidelines of a press conference in Islamabad.

He added, “Pakistan does not want hatred between Tehran and Riyadh and visited Iran and Saudi Arabia aiming at conveying message of peace.”

Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, visited Riyadh in December 2019 as part of continued efforts to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

It was his fourth visit to Saudi Arabia since May 2019.

Khan visited Tehran on October 13, 2019 to “facilitate” possible dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Khan met with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Foreign Minister Qureshi has said that Iran and Saudi Arabia should bridge differences.

In an interview with Aaj News in October, Qureshi said that Pakistan will continue efforts in line with reducing tension in Iran-Saudi relations.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomes Khan’s initiative to de-escalate tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Last October the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Tehran is ready for talks with Saudi Arabia with or without a mediator.

During a joint press conference with Khan in Tehran, Rouhani, without mentioning Saudi Arabia, suggested that Iran will give a positive response to “good intention”.

Rouhani said Iran “welcomes efforts by the Pakistani prime minister to settle tensions in the region” and “restore peace and stability”.


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