Iran and Saudi Arabia ready to move talks to higher level
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian claimed that Saudi Arabia signaled it was ready to move forward with reconciliation talks in an interview given to Iran’s state broadcaster.
“Progress has been made in these negotiations,” Amir-Abdollahian said. He claimed that Iran received a message from the Saudis via the Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, saying that they were “ready to move the talks to the political and public level.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan had said that his country “extended a hand of friendship to Iran,” following the Jeddah summit that took place last week.
The talks between the two neighbors have mainly been focused on the level of security officials so far. Iran’s top diplomat said they would lead to “normal diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The last round of negotiations took place in April. The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, whose country is mediating the negotiation process, said he believed that “reconciliation is near” between Riyadh and Tehran following those talks.
The Iranian Foreign Minister also claimed that the United Arab Emirates “has decided to send an ambassador to Tehran soon.” The UAE announced that it was considering appointing an ambassador to Tehran last week.
Amir-Abdollahian said that a similar measure was taken by Kuwait. “Kuwait has introduced its ambassador and we announced our agreement. The new ambassador of Kuwait will arrive in Tehran within the next few days,” he said.
Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shiite-ruled Iran back opposing sides in virtually all the conflicts in the Middle East.
The two countries severed ties following Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr which led to Iranian protesters attacking Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran.
Abu Dhabi also downgraded diplomatic relations with Tehran following the move. Iran and Saudi Arabia have initiated talks last year to ease tensions.