0952 GMT November 21, 2019
The former Iranian ambassador to Greece and Malaysia stressed that severance of ties between the two neighboring states is not in line with their national interests.
“The appropriate way for settling problems between the two countries is holding high-level negotiations, because in the current situation, low-level diplomatic talks will not bear fruit,” he said.
Mohebali noted that the continuation of tensions between Tehran and Riyadh will not be a victory for any party and “inflict numerous losses on Iran, Saudi Arabia and other states”.
“I don’t think the leaders of Iran and Saudi Arabia want relations to be cut off, because they know that a cutoff in ties favors Israel and their enemies,” he said.
The former diplomat stressed that peaceful relation is the sole way for establishing peace and security in the region.
“Certain people believe crises should reach (a level) where one of the two states triumphs, but I don’t think this would be reasonable, because regional issues are more complicated to be resolved this way,” he said.
Stressing that stability in the region is in favor of Iran, he said economic development and security are necessary.
“For achieving our development goals, we should reduce regional clashes and tensions,” he said.
“For settling differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and reaching the needed stability, we should pursue political solutions.”
Mohebali noted that both states can use “unofficial talks” to prepare the ground for “high-level negotiations” between the leaders of the two states.
“Negotiations should be based on give and take, because we (Iran) and Saudi Arabia have interests in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and…that should be taken into consideration,” he said.
Noting that several domestic parties influence the foreign policies of Iran and Saudi Arabia, Mohebali said, “We need to take a serious and macro decision for having better relations with Saudi Arabia, as we saw it with respect to the nuclear issue and Mr. Zarif (Iran’s foreign minister) and his colleagues have been tasked to follow it up.”
“We don’t need ‘heroic leniency’ in our relations with Saudi Arabia, but we need a serious decision to enter into negotiations in a diplomatic framework to study and settle all issues,” he said.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are divided on a number of regional issues, such as the situation in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain.
Tehran has been critical of Riyadh’s support for the heavy-handed crackdown of the Bahraini regime on peaceful protesters and its recent military aggression against neighboring Yemen.
Riyadh also supports militants fighting the Syrian government, while Iran stresses the importance of resolving the crisis in Syria through political means. However, Iranian officials have said on numerous occasions that they are open to negotiations to narrow differences between the two powerful states of the region.