Saudi Arabia not ready to normalize ties with Iran

TEHRAN, Jan. 14 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Tehran is determined to restore relations with Saudi Arabia but it seems Riyadh lacks the required readiness in this regard.

“Saudi Arabia is still not ready to return to normal relations. We have the needed intention and will to normalize with Saudi Arabia. If such an intention is seen in the real sense on the Saudi side, the normalization of relations will be quick and achievable,” Amir-Abdollahian told Lebanese media in Beirut on Friday.

He said Iran and Saudi Arabia have held five rounds of “important and positive” negotiations in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and the two countries’ foreign ministers believe talks should continue, Press TV reported.

As the first step, he said, the two sides’ consulates general in the Iranian city of Mashhad and the Saudi city of Jeddah should be reopened to provide necessary consular services to both sides’ citizens who are willing to travel to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia and Mashhad and other Iranian holy sites.

The top Iranian diplomat pointed to his short talks with his Saudi counterpart in Amman in December and said both sides emphasized that the restoration of Tehran-Riyadh relations would have positive impacts on the two countries and the entire region.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The kingdom then pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, not least during the administration of former US President Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers had close ties.

Saudi Arabia appears to have recently changed its antagonistic course, showing willingness through diplomatic channels and third parties to mend fences with Tehran and resume bilateral relations.

The two neighbors remain deeply divided over a set of regional issues, mainly the destructive and protracted Saudi war on Yemen.

MNA/PR

News Code 196102

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