Saudi hopes to reach deal with Iran

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Iran and Saudi can reach a position that’s good for both countries and “is going to create a brighter future” for them, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman said that the Kingdom will continue negotiating with Iran to create a brighter future for both countries.

In an interview with the US magazine The Atlantic, the crown prince said there had already been four rounds of talks with Tehran, and more would follow. “Hopefully, we can reach a position that’s good for both countries and is going to create a brighter future for this country and Iran.”

He said two countries are “neighbours for ever.”

“We cannot get rid of them, and they can’t get rid of us. So it’s better for both of us to work it out and to look for ways in which we can coexist. We heared statements from Iranian leaders which we welcome in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Prince Mohammed said there had already been four rounds of talks with Tehran, and more would follow. “Hopefully, we can reach a position that’s good for both countries and is going to create a brighter future for this country and Iran.”

Regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as Iran nuclear deal, the crown prince said Saudi Arabia does not want to see a weaker deal.

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“I believe any country around the world that has a nuclear bomb—that’s dangerous, regardless if it’s Iran or any other country. So we don’t want to see that. And also, we don’t want to see a weak nuclear deal, because that’s going to end up with the same conclusion,” he said.

Nuke talks in final steps

Iran said on Thursday that the Vienna talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal are in the “final critical steps.”

“Nobody can say the deal is done, until all the outstanding remaining issues are resolved,” Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tweeted.

“Extra efforts needed. Everybody is now focused on the final critical steps,” he said.

His remarks came after Western media reported that Iran and the parties to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are “very close” to an agreement.

“Premature good news does not substitute good agreement,” the Iranian spokesman said.

Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA, namely Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany, have held eight rounds of talks in Vienna in a bid to revive the deal, from which the United States unilaterally pulled out in 2018.

Israel relations

Meanwhile, when asked about Saudi following other Arab nations in having an open relationship with Israel in light of the Abraham Accords and a Israel Prime Minister’s open visit to Abu Dhabi, the crown prince said that the Kingdom sees Israel as a “potential ally.”

“For us, we hope that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is solved. We don’t look at Israel as an enemy, we look to them as a potential ally, with many interests that we can pursue together. But we have to solve some issues before we get to that.”

He added: “The agreement between the GCC countries states that no GCC country will take any action—political, security, economic action—that harms other GCC countries. And all GCC countries have committed to this. Regardless of that, each country has independence to do whatever they want, based on their views, and they have a total right to do whatever they think that’s useful for UAE.”

US relations

The crown prince also discussed Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US, the pivotal role of Islam as the foundation of the Saudi state along with the Kingdom’s rejection of religious extremism, and Saudi Arabia’s plans for social development and economic growth, the Arab News reported.

He said the Kingdom had a “long, historic relationship” with the US, and the aim was to strengthen it. “We have a political interest, we have economic interests, we have a security interest, we have defense interests, we have trade interests, we have a lot. It’s huge.”

However, he rejected interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, and argued that attempts to apply pressure on Saudi Arabia were counterproductive, it was reported.

“Pressure doesn’t work,” he said. “Throughout history, it’s never worked with us. If you have the right idea, the right way of thinking, just keep doing it. People will follow if it’s the right thing. If it’s the wrong thing, then people are going to follow their own way of thinking. And you have to accept it.

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“We respect your culture in America, we respect your way of thinking, we respect everything in your country, because it’s up to you. We wish that we would be treated the same. We disagree with many things that you believe in, but we respect it.

Prince Mohammed said Saudi Arabia was “among the top fastest growing countries in the world,” adding that in 2023, “the whole economy is going to grow by almost 7 percent.”