Zarif Reprises Call for Saudi Rapprochement

Zarif Reprises Call for Saudi RapprochementZarif Reprises Call for Saudi Rapprochement

Iran's foreign minister has urged Saudi Arabia to abandon "destructive" regional policies that are even harmful to the kingdom, calling yet one more time for a revision in the Saudi course to allow fence-mending dialogue between the two governments to take shape.    

Zarif was overwhelmingly reconfirmed as Iran's top diplomat for another four years by the parliament on Sunday, after being touted as a "trademark" of Iranian government by President Hassan Rouhani.

The veteran diplomat told ISNA in an interview published on Wednesday that he hopes "rationality" will reign in the Saudi foreign policy.

"This Saudi behavior does not even serve its own interests. It is two years since the Saudi aggression against Yemen started and not only has it not delivered benefits, but it has inflicted dramatic losses on them. The case for Syria and Bahrain is the same."

Zarif was referring to major bones of contentions between the two governments, the Saudi-led war in the poorest Arab country Yemen, its supply of arms to militants in Syria and its assistance to the Bahraini government in put down pro-democracy activists.  

In his first term, Zarif went to great lengths to heal widening fissures with Saudi Arabia, which started behaving aggressively toward Iran after King Salman ascended the throne in early 2015.

The new Saudi ruler cut relations with Iran one year later and has since employed checkbook diplomacy to tilt regional states toward its side and isolate Tehran.

Zarif has frequently invited Saudis to engage in dialogue for settling differences and called for Tehran-Riyadh cooperation to form mechanisms to restore security to the region deeply embroiled in conflict. But Zarif's overtures have so far been spurned by Riyadh, which accuses Iran of subverting security in the region and aspiring to dominate it.  

"We are adamant in our desire for a secure, powerful and convergent region, believing this is in the interests of Iran and the region," Zarif said, adding that Tehran welcomes a change in the style of politics that prescribes tensions for advancing interests.


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