Tehran, Riyadh on Rapprochement Road

Tehran, Riyadh on Rapprochement RoadTehran, Riyadh on Rapprochement Road

The Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said Iran and Saudi Arabia have initiated diplomatic efforts to reach common understanding about regional issues. Speaking in a press conference on Monday, Ansari said the two sides are working to prepare the ground for direct and comprehensive discussions, IRNA reported.

"Based on its policy toward neighbors and Muslim countries, Iran is ready to open a new chapter of ties [with Saudi Arabia], which would help solve regional issues," he said.

Ansari said Iran is determined to this and hoped Saudi Arabia will also show a strong will in this respect.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with Al-Monitor on Friday the international Syria diplomatic process had brought Iran and Saudi Arabia into direct discussions again, which Iran has sought but Riyadh had refused until October.

Zarif confirmed that Iran has had occasional bilateral conversations with Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, but he said the interactions were brief.

Ansari said Iran has approved the candidate proposed by Saudi Arabia as its next ambassador to Iran and he will start work soon. Asked about the new "Muslim coalition" that Saudi Arabia recently formed to coordinate a fight against "terrorist organizations", Ansari said Iran basically welcomes any measure against terrorism.

"But for these efforts to be effective, some considerations should be taken into account. Actions should be aligned with words and double standards not be applied," he said.

"Territorial integrity and national sovereignty of the countries and also international laws should be respected in any attempt to combat terrorism. If not, the misguided approach would defeat the objective of efforts and yield the opposite outcome (and strengthen terrorists). On the recent rapprochement between the Turkish government and Israel amid escalated tension between Ankara and its neighbors, Ansari said Muslim countries should adopt policies that advance their interests as well as the interests of Muslim countries, including that of Palestinian nation which is trying to defend its basic rights.

In view of Iran's desire to help diffuse regional situation, Ansari hoped that the Turkish government would also pursue the same purpose so the two countries can engage in cooperation to achieve this.

Turkey and Israel recently reached a preliminary agreement to normalize ties, five years after the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara ship was raided by Israeli forces during an aid mission to the Gaza Strip in 2010.

Under the agreement, Ankara and Tel Aviv would also exchange envoys and hold talks on restarting gas exports to Turkey.