Tehran, Riyadh Ready to Continue Talks to Restore Diplomatic Ties

Tehran, Riyadh Ready to Continue Talks to Restore Diplomatic Ties
Tehran, Riyadh Ready to Continue Talks to Restore Diplomatic Ties

Iran and Saudi Arabia are ready to follow up Iraqi-mediated negotiations on restoring bilateral diplomatic relations, a senior Cabinet member said. 
“The Saudis emphasize that talks must continue and both sides’ concerns must be discussed and resolved so that the two countries’ relations can be resumed,” Mohammad Hosseini, vice president for parliamentary affairs, said after a recent meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on the sidelines of the Brazilian president’s inauguration in Brasilia, ISNA reported. 
The Islamic Republic also stresses that Baghdad talks must continue, he added. 
Tehran and Riyadh severed diplomatic ties in 2016 after a group of Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in reaction to the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric. 
The two sides have also been at odds over several regional issues, including the war in Yemen where the two support opposing sides. 
Both sides have showed signs of interest in reconciliation marked by five rounds of negotiations in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the latest of which was held last April. 
The talks had been lauded as a breakthrough that would ease regional tensions, but were stalled with the outbreak of protests in Iran in September. 
Hosseini said after the recent unrest in Iran, some countries suspended their talks, but have now realized that they must continue their talks with the Islamic Republic. 
Iranian cities have seen turmoil in recent months following the death of a young girl in police custody, which later developed into clashes between rioters and security forces, claiming the lives of around 200 people, according to Iranian sources. 
Iran blamed western countries and their allies for provoking violence to destabilize Iran and advance their political agenda. 
The vice president highlighted the role a Saudi-funded news network in the recent turmoil, saying this certainly has to be discussed in Tehran-Riyadh negotiations. 
“This subject must be raised that if they express certain concerns, it is also obvious on this side that a media campaign [against the Islamic Republic] has been conducted with Saudi support,” he said. 
He regretted, however, that the two countries’ political relations are cut while they can maintain their ties in spite of differences over some issues. 
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had earlier met his Saudi counterpart on the sidelines of the Baghdad II conference in the Jordanian capital Amman.  
He later said in a tweet in Arabic that “the Saudi minister assured me of his country’s readiness to continue dialogue with Iran.” 
Prince Faisal has said his country will continue to extend its hand to Iran for a “positive relationship” that serves the stability of the region.
In December, Amir-Abdollahian expressed Tehran’s readiness to reopen embassies whenever the Saudi side is ready.
“It is the Saudi side that should decide how it will pursue a constructive approach toward Iran,” Amir-Abdollahian told reporters on the sidelines of the third edition of Tehran Dialogue Forum in December. 
Iran has already reopened the country’s representative office to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

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