0316 GMT November 21, 2019
In a press conference on Monday, Jaberi-Ansari said there is great potential to change the current climate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, adding Tehran has always sought diplomacy-based interaction with its neighbors, Press TV reported.
“Iran’s unchanging policy is based on talks with its neighbors and this policy will continue,” he said.
The Iranian official described Saudi Arabia as a “major neighbor” of the Islamic Republic, saying Tehran and Riyadh have great potentialities for boosting bilateral relations.
“If there is a definitive will on the part of Saudi government … grounds will be prepared to change the current atmosphere,” he said.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have different stances on some developments in the Middle East, particularly the situation in Syria.
The Islamic Republic supports the Syrian government and nation, calling for a political settlement of the crisis, while Saudi Arabia has been supporting terrorist groups operating in Syria to topple the legitimate government of Syria.
Pointing to the recent crush in Mina near the Saudi city of Mecca, Jaberi-Ansari said the Saudi government's "mismanagement" during the Hajj rituals has turned the “great human disaster” into an issue with “political dimensions.”
“The improper handling of the tragedy [by Saudis] has made its dimensions more complicated and it has turned into a very big issue with political dimensions,” he said.
Stressing that the Islamic Republic will continue to follow up on the Mina tragedy, he said Riyadh should accept its legal responsibilities with regard to the tragedy.
The crush happened on September 24 after two large masses of Hajj pilgrims fused together. Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization puts the death toll from the tragedy at around 4,700 people, including 464 Iranians. Saudi Arabia says nearly 770 people were killed.
Advisory military aid to Syria
The Iranian official further said that the Islamic Republic would continue its advisory assistance to Syria to help the Arab country in its fight against terrorism.
The foreign ministry’s spokesman said that Iran has provided advisory military assistance to Syria based on the request of the Syrian government.
He further reiterated that the Islamic Republic supports a diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis, voicing Tehran’s opposition to using terrorism as an instrument to advance political objectives.
Jaberi-Ansari’s remarks come as international diplomatic efforts are underway to help end nearly five years of foreign-backed violence which has reportedly claimed more than 250,000 in Syria since 2011.