Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Analyst: Saudi Arabia has ‘special status’ in Iran’s foreign policy

A political commentator says Saudi Arabia enjoys a special status in Iran’s foreign policy, and that the severance of ties between the two neighbors never disrupted their contacts over issues related to the Hajj pilgrimage and the OPEC group of oil exporting states.

In an interview with the Jamaran news portal, Ja’afar Ghannadbashi, an Iran-based expert in Middle East affairs, pointed to progressive talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia on mending their relations and said positive statements from both sides show the negotiations are “on a good track.”

“In our [Iran’s] foreign policy, Saudi Arabia has a special status due to the issue of Hajj and the fact that it is, like us, among the oldest member states of OPEC,” he said.

“Despite the severance of ties, our Hajj pilgrims used to go there, and at the height of differences between the two sides, the ministers of the two countries would sit around the same table at OPEC summits,” Ghannadbashi added.

The analyst said under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia “made the mistake” of cutting ties with Iran, but it seems now that Riyadh will set aside its ambitions in the diplomatic process underway with Tehran.

He said Riyadh under bin Salman took “14 important measures against Iran,” each of which could, in itself, lead to a collapse of their relations, including supporting anti-Iran terror groups, boosting Washington’s sanctions campaign, disrespecting Iranian Hajj pilgrims in Mena, and playing a role in a bomb attack on Iran’s Embassy in Lebanon.

The Saudis, however, do not have the power to take such measures any more, he said.

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