Tehran eyes thaw in ties with Riyadh: Official
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Wednesday the Arab kingdom was open to talks with Iran in the wake of heightened tensions in the Middle East.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told Reuters in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, that any dialogue between the two regional states "is really up to Iran".
"Many countries have offered to mediate for talks with Iran," he said.
The prince accused Iran, without evidence, of “furthering its regional agenda through violence", claiming that the Islamic Republic sought to bring about talks through violence.
"We are glad that the region has avoided any escalation with Iran," the top diplomat added.
Tensions have been running high in the region after mysterious attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf in June last year and a strike involving drones and cruise missiles on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.
The US blamed the attacks on Iran but the Islamic Republic denied any role.
Tensions escalated dangerously after a US drone strike assassinated Iran’s top general, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Jan 3. Iran retaliated by firing a volley of ballistic missiles on US forces based in Iraq five days later.
On Wednesday, a top aide to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed optimism for rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh.
“Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country. We had good relations with Riyadh in the past, now we believe that it is in the region's interest that the two countries solve their issue,” Mahmoud Vaezi, the presidential chief of staff, said.
“Relations between Iran and its neighbor Saudi Arabia should not become like the ties between Tehran and the United States ... Tehran and Riyadh should work together to resolve their problems,” he added.
Vaezi said Tehran and Riyadh exchanged messages even after the kingdom cut ties with the Islamic Republic following attacks on its diplomatic missions in Iran back in 2016.