Envoy Expresses Optimism Over Better Saudi Ties

Envoy Expresses Optimism Over Better Saudi Ties  Envoy Expresses Optimism Over Better Saudi Ties

Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Fathali said Iran is optimistic it can improve relations with Saudi Arabia, adding that the two countries have common enemies in Israel and the so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

“We seek to establish the best brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia, based on the principle of mutual respect,” Fathali told a Lebanese radio station on Wednesday, the Daily Star reported.

“We see positive indications on the horizon for Iranian-Saudi relations,” he added.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s participation in last month’s funeral services for the late Saudi King Abdullah was just one gesture of goodwill, the diplomat noted. The move was reciprocated Tuesday by Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri, who participated in a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

Fathali described relations with his Saudi counterpart as “very good”.

“Saudi Arabia and Iran have common enemies like ISIS (another acronym for IS which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and Israel,” the ambassador said. “The Saudi elites have reached this conviction.” Elsewhere, Fathali said Iran’s relations with Turkey have also improved.

“Turkish-Iranian relations are very good and economic trade has reached $20 billion,” he explained.

“There will be an official visit for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (soon).”

Asiri took part in the ceremony organized by the Iranian Embassy at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the victory of the Iranian Revolution. During the event, the Saudi diplomat was seen shaking hands with Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy head of Hezbollah, Iran’s major ally in Lebanon.

In his speech at the ceremony, Fathali said Iran stood by the side of Lebanon’s “people, government, army, and resistance.”

“Lebanon’s national unity is the mightiest weapon to confront the Zionist enemy and all the other dangers surrounding (the country).”

Fathali said Iran supported any dialogue which brought Lebanese political factions together, referring to ongoing talks between Hezbollah and the Future Movement.  He also said he hoped that all Lebanese factions, particularly Christian groups, would agree on a new president as soon as possible to end the political crisis gripping the Arab country.   

Lebanon has been without a president since last May as disagreements among various political groups at parliament have blocked the appointment of a new head of state.