A thaw in relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia dependent on Yemen issue: analyst

February 12, 2021 - 22:21

TEHRAN - Ghasem Moheb Ali, an expert on West Asia, says the resolution of conflict in Yemen can lead to the improvement of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Moheb Ali highlighted the Biden administration’s policy towards Yemen and noted, “Biden’s administration is seeking to resolve the Yemen crisis by diplomatic and political means. Therefore, Biden’s foreign policy team intends to use the United Nations to handle the crisis.”

“The visit of the United Nations special envoy on Yemen to Iran indicates the U.S. and the United Nations are trying to find out the reaction of Iran towards the Biden’s policy to Yemen. They are assessing whether Ansarollah can join the peace process in the country and stop firing the missiles on Saudi Arabia,” he told ILNA news agency. 

Regarding likely changes in Saudi foreign policy, he underlined, “Foreign policy of Saudi Arabia is heavily dependent on the Yemen crisis. After the crisis in Yemen worsened, the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia deteriorated.” 

He expressed his hopes concerning the removal of U.S. sanctions on Yemenis and noted, “The Biden administration has an intention to ease the U.S. sanctions on Ansarollah and to remove the organization from its sponsors of terrorism list. By doing so, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia can negotiate with Ansarollah.”

“Establishment of a unity government in Yemen needs a domestic as well as a regional agreement. However, Saudi Arabia may not be interested to see Iran is directly involving in the Arab country’s domestic affairs,” he remarked. 

Pointing to serious challenges between Iran and Saudi Arabia, he underscored, “The problems between Iran and Saudi Arabia is not restricted to the Yemen crisis. Nevertheless, Yemen is the most sensitive issue with regard to the relations between Tehran and Riyadh. Both countries disagree on Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and have to resolve their differences by negotiations. The resolution of conflict in Yemen can create a better environment to encourage both nations to negotiate.” 

EE/PA

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