News ID: 104985
Publish Date : 22 July 2022 - 21:58

TEHRAN -- Iran and Saudi Arabia are ready to move reconciliation talks to a higher level, more than a year after they began and six years after the two rivals severed relations, Iran’s foreign minister said.
Since April last year Iraq has hosted five rounds of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which support opposing sides in various conflicts around the region.
“Progress has been made in these negotiations,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
He added that last week Iran had received a message from Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein who said “the Saudi side is ready to move the talks to the political and public level.”
Iran’s top diplomat noted that previous rounds had mainly been at the level of security officials. “We announced our readiness for the talks to enter the political stage,” he said.
In 2016, angry protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom executed Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Riyadh responded by cutting ties with Tehran.
Amir-Abdollahian said he hoped that the negotiations with Riyadh would lead to “normal diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Officials in Tehran have previously said that holding talks on a political level could yield better and faster results.
After the last round of negotiations in April, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi said he believed that “reconciliation is near” between Riyadh and Tehran, a further reflection of shifting political alignments across the region.
Following the severance of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi downgraded diplomatic relations with Tehran and Kuwait recalled its ambassador.
Last week the United Arab Emirates said it was “considering” appointing an ambassador in Tehran.
Amir-Abdollahian described the Emirates’ move more definitively, saying “the UAE has decided to
send an ambassador to Tehran” and that will happen “soon.”
Amir-Abdollahian also said a similar measure is being taken by Kuwait.
“Kuwait has introduced its ambassador and we have also announced our agreement. The new ambassador of Kuwait will arrive in Tehran within the next few days,” he said.
‘Balanced’ Foreign Policy
The Raisi administration has put a “balanced foreign policy framework” with regard to ties with the West and East on the agenda, Iran’s foreign minister said, emphasizing the importance that Iran attaches to its neighbors.
“This does not mean that we tie our interests to a specific country in the East or the West, rather, we will tie our interests to issues and fields that bear the greatest achievements for us,” he said.
As far as “political independence” is concerned, Iran does neither rely on the East nor the West, neither the U.S., nor Russia, however, when it comes to national interests and using the capacities that exist, Tehran pursues a “both East and West” policy, the top diplomat hastened to add.

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