Thursday, February 22, 2024

MbS says Saudi Arabia hopes to reach agreement with Iran

Riyadh intends to continue “detailed talks” with Tehran in order to reach a satisfactory agreement for both, Saudi state TV quoted on Thursday Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as saying.

He expressed hope that the talks would enable the two countries to reach “a good situation and mark a bright future” for both countries, the Al Ekhbariya TV station reported.

“Iran is a neighbor forever, we cannot get rid of them and they cannot get rid of us,” he added, according to state TV.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdolahian has recently said Tehran is ready to continue talks with Saudi Arabira, “however this depends above all on Riyadh’s will”.

Last month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran was ready for more talks with Saudi Arabia if Riyadh is willing to hold the talks in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.

“Iran is ready to continue these negotiations until reaching an outcome, provided that the Saudis are willing to continue the negotiations in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect,” Raisi added.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016, after Iranian protesters, angered by the kingdom’s execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, attacked Riyadh’s missions in the country.

Riyadh has since stepped up its belligerent foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, but the kingdom appears to be ready to change course.

Riyadh and Tehran have announced they hope the talks can ease tensions while playing down expectations of a significant diplomatic breakthrough.

The talks have led to “serious progress” regarding Persian Gulf security, Tehran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh stated in September.

In a sign of a thaw in relations, Iran announced last month that three Iranian diplomats arrived in Saudi Arabia to take up posts at the headquarters of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah.

Bin Salman has also said he does not care whether U.S. President Joe Biden misunderstood things about him and stated the U.S. leader should be thinking about America’s interests, in an interview to The Atlantic published Thursday.

The de facto ruler of the world’s top oil exporter, known as MbS, also warned the United States not to interfere in the internal affairs of the absolute monarchy.

“Simply, I do not care,” he continued.

It is up to Biden “to think about the interests of America”, he said when asked whether Biden misunderstood things about him.

“We don’t have the right to lecture you in America,” he stated, adding, “The same goes the other way.”

While the crown prince enjoyed close relations with former President Donald Trump, Biden has taken a tougher stance on the kingdom’s human rights record and the Yemen war in which a Saudi-led coalition is engaged since early 2015.

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