MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Iran welcomes the change in Saudi Arabia’s rhetoric on Iran, recalling its own pioneering of initiatives to relaunch dialogue in the Persian Gulf, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Thursday.
“By presenting proposals and initiatives for dialogue and cooperation in the Persian Gulf region, including the Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE), the Islamic Republic of Iran has been a pioneer in the path of amity and regional cooperation, and welcomes the change in Saudi Arabia’s tone,” Khatibzadeh said, as cited in the ministry’s press release.
The comment was in response to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saying on Tuesday that Riyadh wanted good relations with Iran. The crown prince said Saudi Arabia was working with its regional and global partners to find a solution to its issues with Tehran.
The spokesman noted that Iran and Saudi Arabia, being two important countries in both the region and the Muslim world, could now start cooperating “to achieve regional peace, stability, and development by adopting constructive and dialogue-based approaches.”
Earlier in April, The Financial Times reported, citing sources, that high-ranking officials from the two countries met in Baghdad on April 9 to discuss restoration of bilateral relations. According to the newspaper, the talks were mediated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and became “the first major political conversation” between the two states since Tehran and Riyadh cut diplomatic ties in 2016.
In early 2016, Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad were attacked by violent mobs, seeking revenge for the execution of famous Shiite preacher Nimr Baqir Nimr by the Saudis. Out of solidarity with Riyadh, Bahrain, Sudan and Djibouti also cut relations with Iran.