News ID: 259910
Published: 0308 GMT October 08, 2019

Zarif signals cooperation after Saudi reaches out for talks

Zarif signals cooperation after Saudi reaches out for talks

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has underscored his ministry’s preparedness to engage in collaboration with neighboring countries over regional security following a report on Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of mediation between Riyadh and Tehran.

Zarif told Iranian Parliament members on Tuesday that “the Foreign Ministry is always ready for cooperation with its neighbors on the security of the region. We have (already) announced our position officially,” Icana reported.

His comments come in the wake of a report published by The New York Times where the paper said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had asked Iraqi and Pakistani top officials to intervene following the September 14 Yemeni aerial attacks on Saudi oil facilities.   

Iran’s top diplomat also made a reference to the regional peace initiative set forth last month by President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly and noted that the Islamic Republic’s Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) serves the same purpose.

“Under the conditions and circumstances where the Saudis have expressed readiness to negotiate with Iran, if they pursue regional issues not through killing people but at the negotiating table, then they will definitely find the Islamic Republic on their side,” added Zarif.

The HOPE initiative comes against the backdrop of tensions in the Persian Gulf, where several tankers and commercial vessels recently came under suspicious attacks by unknown parties while attempting to cross the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Also, last month’s air raid on the Saudi state oil giant, Aramco, was claimed by Yemen’s Houthis, but the kingdom and the US were quick to blame it on Iran without evidence.

The New York Times report also said that US President Donald Trump's refusal to engage in a military response following the Yemeni attack "raised questions for the Saudis about the American commitment to Saudi security, which has underpinned the strategic layout of the Persian Gulf for decades."

Washington’s lack of action "prompted Saudi Arabia to seek its own solution to the conflict," The Times wrote. 

The Saudi government told paper that Baghdad and Islamabad had offered to mediate talks, but denied the move was at the request of the Saudi crown prince.

Tehran already indicated it was open to talks with Riyadh in that regard, with Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iranian Parliament telling the Al Jazeera news network that "Iran is open to starting a dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region."        


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