After the recent announcement of the détente with Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic hopes this will expedite rapprochement with other regional nations.
Speaking at his last press conference in the current Iranian year -- which ends on March 20 – the country’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said not only will the detente benefit the two nations, but expand diplomatic horizons and regional peace, especially in the Persian Gulf.
“Fortunately, with the positive atmosphere that we are witnessing in the region, this positive development [the deal with Saudi Arabia] can happen in connection with other regional countries as well, including Bahrain.
“We should further trust the path of diplomacy and take steps in this direction,” he explained, adding that the region would also benefit from a similar détente in relations between Iran and Egypt.
“Egypt is an important country and the two countries value each other in the region. The region needs the synergy of Tehran and Cairo,” he added. “The Islamic Republic’s principled policy is strengthening relations with its neighbors. We are [also] definitely ready to develop ties with Jordan.”
After five long rounds of talks spanning Baghdad, Muscat and Beijing, the agreement would see the two archenemies restore diplomatic ties and reopen embassies seven years after their relations were severed.
Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute between the two countries over Riyadh's execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric.
The kingdom also has blamed Iran for missile and drone attacks on its oil facilities in 2019 as well as attacks on tankers in Persian Gulf waters. Iran denied the charges.
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement has also carried out cross-border missile and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition fighting the Houthis, and in 2022 extended the strikes to the United Arab Emirates.
Kanaani said that embassies in Tehran and Riyadh and consulates in Mashhad and Jeddah will reopen within two months, though this two month period is time for Saudi to assess the behavior and commitment of the regime as it lays out conditions for the relationship. Among the most contentious issues, is Iran’s refusal to agree to controls over its regional proxies or the activities of the IRGC.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah openly stated that the agreement to restore relations with Iran does not mean disputes have been resolved. In an interview with London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, he said the agreement announced March 10 in Beijing with Chinese mediation and apparent guarantees, shows a joint desire by Iran and Saudi Arabia to “resolve disputes through communication and dialogue,” but “this does not mean that an agreement has been reached to resolve all pending disputes between them.”
Touching on the issue of the war in Yemen, Kanaani said the end of the war on the impoverished country has always been one of the top priorities of the Islamic Republic. “It is expected that the new positive atmosphere, which has been formed in the Iran-Saudi relations, will have positive and good results in the issue of Yemen.”