Iran ready to reopen embassy in Saudi Arabia: Foreign Ministry 

January 17, 2022 - 18:4

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has expressed Iran’s readiness to reopen Tehran’s embassy in Riyadh, underlining that reopening embassies depends on a Saudi will. 

Speaking at a weekly press conference on Monday, Khatibzadeh said Iran is now focused on resumption of its diplomatic activities in the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). 

“The focus is on starting the Islamic Republic of Iran's mission to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, and our diplomats obtained visas to conduct this feasibility study.”

The Iranian Students' News Agency, ISNA, reported earlier that the three Iranian diplomats had arrived in the Saudi city of Jeddah in recent days to represent Iran in the OIC.

It indicated in a report that the three Iranian diplomats left for Jeddah in recent days and are scheduled to resume their activities after 6 years of stopping Iran's representation to the 57—member organization.

The activities of the Iranian representative office in Jeddah stopped in early 2016, following the severing of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, after demonstrators attacked Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran.

In December, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced that Saudi Arabia has agreed to issue visas to three of Iran’s diplomats who work as diplomats residing at the headquarters of the OIC.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Saudi Arabia issued visas to three Iranian diplomats, while the Kingdom confirmed the issuance of visas as part of the normal procedure for representatives of member states of the organization residing in Jeddah.

Khatibzadeh said that Iran stands ready to resume diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in line with the foreign policy agenda of President Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi. 

“As Mr. Raisi noted in an early election press conference, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to reopen its embassy in Saudi Arabia, depending on what practical steps Saudi Arabia takes,” he said. “We have already announced this readiness, and God willing, we will consider all the preparations in this direction so that this path will be implemented.”

The spokesman also addressed a range of regional issues. Responding to a question about the visit of the foreign ministers of the Persian Gulf countries to China and some analyses about the concern of these countries about China's influence and Iran-China relations, he said, “Iran-China relations are completely normal. East-East relations are based on the natural requirements of developments in the international system and bilateral relations. The presence of different countries in the region as independent countries is neither a threat nor a cause for concern. China already has relations with various countries in the region, including the countries of the Persian Gulf, and we welcomed balanced and independent relations between the countries.”

Khatibzadeh continued, "What is worrisome is the presence of some Western trans-regional countries in the Persian Gulf region, which try to change the geopolitics of the region by selling weapons and establishing a military base in the Persian Gulf region and changing governments and regimes and manipulating the results of political developments in these countries. A system of inclusive regional arrangements can help implement these stable relationships in the region.”

Responding to a question about Amir Abdollahian’s visit to Oman and Qatar and Iran's readiness for regional arrangements, the spokesman said, “Good neighborliness and the issue of neighborhood as a definite policy in the past few months has been pursued in various forms and consultations have been held in the Persian Gulf. Announced and unannounced trips between the capitals and the visit of some Persian Gulf officials to Iran and the visit of the Iraqi foreign minister to Iran are all measures to establish comprehensive arrangements in the region in a multilateral manner.”

He pointed out, “Of course, these comprehensive arrangements in the Persian Gulf are the first step and targeting of eight countries in the Persian Gulf and is a serious issue.”

He added, “Friends in Iraq had suggestions, and we supported any endogenous arrangements by the countries of the region. The principles of these regional arrangements have been discussed in the meetings, including respect for the sovereignty of countries and the prevention of processes that lead to interference, non-aggression and recognition of red lines, etc. But for these to become organizational arrangements, we must create distance among them.”

Khatibzadeh also pointed to relationship between Iran and Syria, describing it as strategic and multi-layered. 

Regarding the Israeli aggression on Syria and some claims that it targets resistance bases, and the statements of U.S. officials about their presence on Syrian soil, Khatibzadeh said, “Iran-Syria relations are multi-layered and multi-dimensional and with their own strategic depth, and it is better for countries to think about ending their wrong policies that led to the killing of innocent Syrians and the occupation of Syrian territory and the cowardly siege and inhumane acts.”

He continued, “The Islamic Republic of Iran knows its own interests well and also knows how to defend its own lives and interests. To date, no party has allowed some parties to strike in areas where Iran has acted as an advisor and where Iran has helped the national sovereignty of countries, and they know full well that the Islamic Republic of Iran will respond on the spot.”

Khatibzadeh referred to Amir Abdollahian’s visit to Oman and Qatar and said, “In Oman, he had a meeting with Mohammad Abdul Salam about the latest situation in Yemen, and in Qatar, in addition to meeting with the Emir and Foreign Minister of Qatar, he also met with Ismail Haniyeh.”

During the meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir Abdollahian examined the latest developments in bilateral ties in areas of politics, security, trade, and economy. Iran’s top diplomat referred to the existing capacities for expanding economic relations between Iran and Qatar, underlining the need for forging cooperation in economic areas given the existing advantages of Iran.

Amir Abdollahian further outlined the Iranian administration’s approach to relations with neighboring countries, emphasizing exchange of delegations at high levels for consultations between Iran and Qatar.

He also pointed to Iran’s views toward the region and declared Tehran’s readiness to develop interaction with regional nations bilaterally and multilaterally.

The top Iranian diplomat then spoke about the Vienna talks over removing the illegal sanctions against Iran as well as the issues related to Afghanistan and Yemen. 

The Qatari emir, for his part, outlined his views regarding these matters.

Sheikh Al Thani also stressed the importance of ties between Iran and Qatar and cooperation on regional issues. He underlined that Qatar is interested in expanding cooperation with Iran.

Amir Abdollahian also met with a high-profile delegation from Hamas, headed by its political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh.

The Hamas delegation addressed the developments related to the Palestinian cause, particularly with regard to the situation in Occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, and the 15-year Israeli siege on Gaza, according to the Palestinian Information Center. 

The delegation hailed the Islamic republic's position in support of the Palestinian cause and resistance. 

The Iranian minister, meanwhile, discussed the developments concerning a number of matters, including regional alliances and the Vienna talks, reiterating his country's stance in support of the Palestinian people and resistance.      

The Hamas delegation welcomed the endeavors being made to achieve unity among Arab and Muslim nations, especially the efforts being exerted by Iran and Saudi Arabia. 

Besides the Hamas chief, the meeting was attended by members of Hamas political bureau Khalil al-Hayya and Mousa Abu Marzouq, in addition to Majdi Abu Amsheh, head of Haniyeh's office.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that during the meeting, Amir Abdollahian outlined the Islamic republic’s principled policy toward the issue of Palestine as a plight in the heart of the Islamic ummah created by the child-killing Zionist regime which enjoys support from the West.

He also condemned the brutal crimes of the Zionist occupiers against al-Quds, al-Aqsa Mosque, Gaza and occupied Palestinian territories as well as the regime’s aggression and atrocities against the Palestinian people and sanctities.

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