Tehran-Riyadh Rapprochement Unlikely

Tehran-Riyadh Rapprochement UnlikelyTehran-Riyadh Rapprochement Unlikely

A lawmaker said he believes a detente between Iran and its Persian Gulf Arab neighbor, Saudi Arabia, is unlikely, in view of the fact that Riyadh was pleased by the anti-Iran rhetoric of the new US President Donald Trump and is intent on working with his administration against Tehran.

Trump tweeted last Thursday that he has put Iran "on notice" over a recent ballistic missile test, with high-ranking US officials hinting that this is just the beginning of a harder line against Iran.

"The posture and language of Saudi officials clearly show that they are not in the mood for interaction. Even efforts by other countries for mediation will bear no fruit," Farhad Falahati also told ICANA in a recent talk.  Falahati was pointing to a message of dialogue delivered to Tehran by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Al-Khalid Al-Sabah late last month on behalf of the six-member (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council.

The move was widely seen as an effort to improve relations between Tehran and Saudi Arabia, which are at odds over various conflicts in West Asia.

However, on January 29, Saudi King Salman discussed with Trump Riyadh's suspicion of what it sees as Tehran's growing influence in the Arab world.

They agreed in their phone conversation on the need to address "Iran's destabilizing regional activities", according to state-owned Saudi Press Agency. 

It was Riyadh that severed ties with Tehran early 2016, using as an excuse the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran by protesters angered over the Saudi execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr without due process of law. 

Falahati said, "I think a change in the hostile behavior of Saudis in the region is unlikely," although Riyadh has been unable to achieve any gains in West Asia in recent years and its support for "terrorist entities" has led to consequences for the kingdom itself. 

"Definitely, making retreats and trying to reach compromise with Saudis will bring no difference in their anti-Iran policy," he said.

Iran has repeatedly called for dialogue between Tehran and Riyadh to resolve divisions in the past, but those calls have always fallen on deaf ears.

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