West News Wire: However, it appears Riyadh lacks the necessary readiness in this area, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Tehran is committed to mending relations with Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia is still hesitant to resume regular relations. We have the necessary desire and purpose to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia. The normalization of relations will be rapid and possible if such a goal is understood in the true meaning by the Saudi side, Amir-Abdollahian told Lebanese media in Beirut on Friday.
He said that five “important and fruitful” rounds of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia had taken place in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and that the foreign ministers of the two nations thought further consultations were necessary.
As the first step, he said, the two sides’ consulates general in the Iranian city of Mashhad and the Saudi city of Jeddah should be reopened to provide necessary consular services to both sides’ citizens who are willing to travel to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia and Mashhad and other Iranian holy sites.
The top Iranian diplomat pointed to his short talks with his Saudi counterpart in Amman in December and said both sides emphasized that the restoration of Tehran-Riyadh relations would have positive impacts on the two countries and the entire region.
After Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in response to the Saudi government’s killing of famous Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the kingdom broke diplomatic ties with Iran in January 2016.
When Donald Trump was president of the United States, a man with whom the Saudi monarchs had close ties, the kingdom then began a combative foreign policy with the Iran.
Saudi Arabia appears to have suddenly reversed its hostile stance, expressing a desire to mend wounds with Tehran and reestablish bilateral contacts through diplomatic channels and third parties.
Over a number of regional issues, chiefly the disastrous and protracted Saudi war on Yemen, the two neighbors continue to be sharply split.