Saudis ready to resume reconciliation talks with Iran: Official
In their discussion of Iran-Saudi relations, the Iranian official said the Saudi minister expressed readiness for the revival of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Iran’s Vice President for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Hosseini disclosed on Wednesday details of his exchange with the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir as they were both attending the ceremony for Lula da Silva's inauguration for the presidency in Brazil.
In their discussion of Iran-Saudi relations, the Iranian official said the Saudi Minister expressed readiness for the revival of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Hosseini said Al-Jubeir was very attentive to his remarks and expressed his own views as well.
They further spoke of Iraq's mediation in the diplomatic process, noting that the Saudi Minister welcomed the proposal of holding a series of meetings to address challenges that stand in the way of the negotiations.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (of Iran) is pursuing the case and has taken a series of measures. Iran and Saudi Arabia are two major and influential countries in the region that cooperate in various spheres, such as pilgrimage and tourism," he added.
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Hosseini said hundreds of Iranians travel each year to perform the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
In light of this, Hosseini stressed the importance of reestablishing diplomatic ties.
Over the past year, delegates from both countries have met several times in Baghdad to discuss steps to resolve their differences in light of heightened geopolitical tensions - but to no avail.
It is noteworthy that diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia grew strained following the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr in January 2016. Sheikh Al-Nimr was a vocal critic of the Saudi government. The Sheikh raised his voice against corruption and political injustice inflicted on marginalized groups that constitute minorities in different regions of the Kingdom, notably Al-Qatif.
The Saudi authorities arrested him in 2011 for participating in protests in the Eastern Province calling for political reform. They executed Al-Nimr along with 46 other people, under the pretext of "fighting terror" just to oppress dissidents and opponents.
On the same day, Iranian protesters broke into the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran and the Consulate in Mashhad, prompting the Kingdom to sever diplomatic ties with Tehran. In response, Tehran severed diplomatic relations with Riyadh.
Iran also blames Saudi Arabia for the deaths of hundreds of Yemeni civilians due to its cruel military campaign against Yemen and the murder of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims in a crushing stampede in 2015.
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