Iran says it is ready to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia

19 December 2022

Iranian authorities are ready to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia when they deem Riyadh ready to do so. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said this on Monday, speaking at a forum in Tehran.

"Negotiations with Saudi Arabia will continue along the same path, we are ready to follow the path of official diplomacy, reopen the embassies of the two countries and return to normal relations when the Saudi side is ready for it," the minister said when asked about a possible meeting with Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in the margins of the second Baghdad Conference on Cooperation and Partnership, which is scheduled for December 20 in Amman. "We have always welcomed cooperation and interaction with the countries of the region and the Persian Gulf," the Iranian diplomatic chief assured.

In Abdollahian's assessment, the Amman conference "can create space to overcome challenges in the region," an important message of the meeting "should be an emphasis on regional cooperation without foreign interference."

On Saturday, IRNA news agency reported that President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi may meet with Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on the sidelines of the forum in Amman. On Monday, however, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani announced that Abdollahian would go to the conference. According to IRNA, the program for the Iranian and Saudi sides to meet on the sidelines of the conference has not yet been determined.

Relations between Riyadh and Tehran deteriorated in March 2015 with the start of the Saudi-led coalition's military operation in Yemen against the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement. The situation worsened on January 2, 2016, after the execution of a Shia preacher in Saudi Arabia. Throughout 2021, the sides negotiated the possibility of normalizing relations, which included four meetings in Baghdad. On April 23 of this year, it was reported that a fifth round of talks would be held in the Iraqi capital.



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Photo: Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

Based on materials from TASS