Iran Thaws Ties With Saudi Arabia

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Iran says welcomes resumption of ties with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016 in response to attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom executed a Shiite cleric…reports Asian Lite News

 The Iranian foreign minister said on Friday that Iran welcomes the resumption of diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and the reopening of embassies, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib following their meeting in Beirut earlier in the day.

Commenting on the several rounds of Tehran-Riyadh rapprochement talks brokered by Baghdad, Amir-Abdollahian said the two countries have arrived at a consensus to continue their negotiations for the resumption of normal relations.

Turning to bilateral relations with Lebanon, Amir-Abdollahian voiced Iran’s readiness to help meet Lebanon’s energy needs, saying the country is ready to reconstruct power plants in Lebanon according to a previously-reached agreement.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016 in response to attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom executed a Shiite cleric.

To improve bilateral relations and ease regional tension, Iraq hosted four rounds of direct talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia in 2021 and a fifth round in April last year.

Last week, Iran’s customs administration said the country’s exports to Saudi Arabia had increased dramatically in 2022 amid the two countries’ efforts to ease tensions, Iran’s IRIB news agency reported.

During the period from the Iranian New Year that fell on March 21, 2022, to Nov. 1, 2022, the value of Iranian exports to Saudi Arabia reached 14.71 million dollars, a record high since the severance of the diplomatic ties.

iran and saudi arabia flag.

Regional Peace

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that Türkiye should show “absolute positiveness,” mainly by ending its occupation of Syrian territories, in order to restore its relations with Syria.

Mekdad made the remarks at a joint press conference with his visiting Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in the Syrian capital of Damascus following Amir-Abdollahian’s meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We urge the other concerned parties to practice absolute positiveness in this regard because the talks cannot succeed in having normal relations without ending the occupation, ending terrorism, and restoring the relations to the previous fundamentals before the crises,” Mekdad told reporters when asked about the current talks between Syria and Türkiye.

Mekdad said that the relations between Syria and Türkiye were normal before the eruption of the Syrian crisis in 2011, noting the Syrian side is exerting all efforts to end terrorism which “led to disrupting the ties with Türkiye.”

Mekdad added that the possibility of a meeting between leaders of Syria and Türkiye relies on removing the elements that led to the current situation, including ending the Turkish occupation of Syrian areas and halting the Turkish support to the rebel groups in northern Syria.

For his part, Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran fully supports Syria’s stances and decisions, deeming any dialogue between Syria and Türkiye as a positive step for both countries and the entire region.

In Dec. 2022, defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Türkiye discussed in Moscow solutions to the Syrian crisis, the issue of refugees, and collective efforts aimed at combatting extremist groups in Syria.

The meeting was the first publicly announced encounter between officials of Syria and Türkiye since the Syrian crisis started in 2011.

Ties With Britain

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday summoned British Ambassador Simon Shercliff to protest the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) “unconventional interference” in Iran’s internal affairs.

The director general of the Western Europe Department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry delivered to Shercliff Iran’s protest against the UK’s “acts of sabotage against the Islamic republic of Iran’s national security,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The meeting came as former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Alireza Akbari was executed on Saturday on the charge of “espionage for the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).”

Pointing to “tangible information about the trap set for Alireza Akbari by the British side,” the Iranian official said the British government “must be held accountable over its unconventional links that led to a breach of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s national security.”

The director general said that “unjustified and mischievous support for a spy is at odds with claims of seeking relations based on mutual respect.”

The Iranian diplomat also stressed that “taking decisive actions” to protect Iran’s security does not depend on other government’s consent, particularly that of the UK, while warning that continuation of such “illegal and criminal” actions will not be tolerated by Tehran.

The Mizan news agency of the Iranian judiciary reported on Saturday that Akbari was executed on charges of spying on behalf of the UK, corruption, and acting against the country’s internal and external security.

In reaction to Iran’s hanging of Akbari, who held dual Iranian-British nationality, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned in a Saturday tweet that the execution will not “stand unchallenged.”

In another tweet, Cleverly said the UK had imposed sanctions on Iran’s Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri following Akbari’s execution.

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