Two messages of Iran FM trip to Jordan

TEHRAN, Dec. 19 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will for the second time participate in a nascent regional format in less than two years that is designed to de-escalate tensions and promote partnership.

On Tuesday, Amman’s King Hussein bin Talal Center for Conferences will host a regional summit that will be attended by the leaders of several countries in the West Asia and North Africa region as well as France. 

The summit, officially known as the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership, was first held in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in August last year at a time when the then-Iraqi government of Mustafa al-Kadhimi was trying to foster regional cooperation.

The Tuesday summit will be attended by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, France, Oman, and Bahrain, while Lebanon and Syria will be absent from the summit. Bahrain and Oman will join the summit for the first time. 

Iran announced Sunday that Amir-Abdollahian will represent Iran at the Conference. He will leave Tehran for Amman on Monday afternoon. The trip comes amid media speculations about a possible thaw in Tehran-Riyadh relations, which brings us to the first message of the Jordan visit of the Iranian foreign minister.

Since April 2021, Iran and Saudi Arabia have held several rounds of talks, mostly in Baghdad. But the talks have so far failed to yield a concrete result in terms of bilateral relations, though the last round culminated in an agreement to move the talks from the security level to the diplomatic one. 

The recent wave of unrest came between Tehran and Saudi Arabia before they succeed in moving to a new level. Iran accused Saudi Arabia of fanning the flames of unrest through the media. 

But in recent weeks, tensions de-escalated and there is now even a remarkable amount of media guesswork that the two countries could hold a meeting on the sidelines of the Amman gathering. 

Iran’s state news agency IRNA said Sunday that as of Saturday evening no plans for an Iranian-Saudi meeting were on the agenda. But it did not rule out a meeting taking place between the two sides in Amman. 

Iran had previously said that it is ready to reach a deal with Saudi Arabia on a range of issues including the reopening of embassies. But the Saudis were not eager to move ahead. The Amman summit once again showed that Iran is ready for diplomacy and remains committed to reaching a solution to the long-running differences with Saudi Arabia. Whether Saudi Arabia is ready to reciprocate remains to be seen. 

The second message of Iran’s participation in the Amman summit is that Iran is not isolated. “Inviting Iran and the confirmation of its presence in this meeting indicates that, contrary to the efforts of some western countries to isolate Iran in the international and regional arena, Tehran is an inevitable player and its presence is a necessity to help regional and international processes,” said IRNA, adding, “The issue of Iran's isolation in the foreign arena is a statement that has no relation to reality and is doomed to failure.”

Iran has also been a key player in other regional formats in relation to Syria and the South Caucasus region. In fact, Iran is seeking to promote multilateralism regionally and internationally.

By Sadegh Fereydounabadi

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 195103

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