Official: Positive signals are coming from Saudi Arabia

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A senior Iranian diplomat has said that positive signals are sent by Saudi Arabia and that Tehran seeks to see its ties with Riyadh return to previous levels.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs says that Tehran has received positive signals from Riyadh and is waiting to see what the Kingdom does in practice.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the comment in an interview – with Al-Alam News Network – which covered a wide range of questions, including ties with regional countries and the fight against ISIL. The following is the translation of parts of his remarks in the interview as reported by entekhab.ir on August 3:

Iran’s policies

Interaction with neighbors and regional countries tops the list of Iran’s foreign policy priorities. The eleventh government is trying to pay more attention to its main priority [ties with regional nations] after the Iran nuclear deal. To that end, Tehran is seeking to deepen ties with regional countries on all fronts, including environmental and security issues. A new opportunity has opened up for the region to take appropriate measures to get out of regional crises.

Iran held talks with P5+1 simply on the nuclear issue. The Foreign Ministry has had no plan for talks with world powers on regional issues, because Tehran believes regional questions should be solved by regional nations.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi solution to regional problems, especially its aggression against Yemen, is a strategic blunder. Iran does not approve of this Saudi approach, but seeks to help Tehran-Riyadh ties return to previous levels. Iran and Saudi Arabia can have constructive interaction to both settle bilateral differences and solve regional problems. […]

I met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on the sidelines of an Organization of Islamic Cooperation conference in Jeddah and provided transparent and frank answers to his transparent comments on regional questions.

At that meeting, we agreed that diplomacy is the only way forward to remove misunderstandings and set the stage for the two countries to help settle regional disputes. We agreed that Iran and Saudi Arabia should launch straightforward, constructive talks, play a positive role in the fight against extremism and terrorism and help restore security and stability in the region.

I heard positive remarks from Mr. Al-Jubeir there. We hope what he said will materialize in practice. We also hope the Saudis pave the way for working out a diplomatic solution in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other regional countries.

We have received positive signals from the Saudis, but they are just messages. We are waiting to see what Saudi Arabia does in practice. We will respond positively if Riyadh plays a constructive role. Saudi Arabia is expected to act insightfully, stay away from war, stop the killing of civilians in Yemen and focus on diplomatic approaches in its regional policies.

Bahrain

[…] If Iran had intended to get involved in the Bahraini question, the situation in the Persian Gulf country would have been different. Authorities in Bahrain are creating security scenarios simply to suppress public demands. […] Manama’s resort to force and its human rights violations have widened the gap between people and the government. The Bahraini government is expected to return to the diplomatic path and reconcile with its people. Now that the stage has been set for regional cooperation, Manama is expected to play a constructive, not destructive, role. Iran has always supported a national dialogue and diplomatic solution in Bahrain.

Syria

Regional players have changed their Syria policies, stressing the need for a diplomatic, not military, solution to the Syrian crisis. We have held constructive talks with Mr. Staffan de Mistura [the UN special envoy in Syria] whose new initiatives will be discussed at the UN Security Council soon. […] The Syrian foreign minister will be in Tehran later this week to talk with his Iranian counterpart on the pursuit of Iran’s solution to his country’s crisis.

The nuclear deal 

The Iran nuclear deal revived a long-forgotten concept in the international relations: diplomacy and dialogue can solve the most complicated of political problems. Another message the deal carried was that it is possible to let go of war and walk down the path of diplomacy to reach solutions. It can set an example for regional countries to follow. The deal showed to regional nations that they can solve all regional crises through diplomacy and without foreign interference.

Fight against ISIL

Iran and Turkey have strategic ties, although they do not see eye to eye over Syria’s future. Turkey’s security matters to Iran, but Tehran does not support measures which endanger the sovereignty of Turkey’s neighbors. The fight against terrorism, especially on ISIL, by Turkey or any other country should be in coordination with the Syrian and Iraqi governments. Countries should not take measures which violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of neighboring countries. […]

Cooperation with the US

Iran was among the first countries to help Iraq and Syria in their fight against terrorism and ISIL in the region. Tehran has no plan to enter partnership with the US against ISIL. We will continue to offer assistance, including consultation, to Baghdad and Damascus.

The US has its own plans for taking on ISIL. Washington has adopted double-standard policies on terrorism. We have no contact or cooperation with the US on fighting ISIL. In the future, Iran will simply help those regional countries which have been targeted by terrorist threats.

Israel

[…] The Zionist regime’s officials make comments [on Iran] out of fear, weakness and concern. The nuclear deal Iran has clinched with P5+1 has raised the regime’s concerns. Western officials have repeatedly said that the Iran nuclear deal has boosted Israel’s security, but the fact remains that the Zionist regime is now at the nadir of its power.

Lebanon

The political future of Lebanon is of great significance to Iran, so is this country’s security. Iran supports the finalization of the political process in Lebanon and the pick of a president in the Middle Eastern country. We hope diplomatic efforts will bear fruit in the next several weeks and Lebanon can enjoy more security and move toward bolstering its political stability.

Egypt

Iran has always welcomed establishment of sustainable, constructive ties with Egypt. It is now up to the Egyptians to decide about the development of relations with Tehran. Talks at political levels are ongoing between the two nations. Iran approves of Egypt’s stance on taking on extremism and terrorism in the region. We hope the challenges in Egypt can be overcome and the demands of revolutionary Egyptian people can be met.

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