Iran sees breakthrough in ties with Gulf Arab states: Official

TEHRAN, IRAN – OCTOBER 5: Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks about the conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia during a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Tehran, Iran on October 5, 2020. (Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Tehran, May 23 (IANS) The relations between Iran and Gulf Arab states have seen a “breakthrough” since President Ebrahim Raisi assumed office in 2021, a top official said here.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have taken “positive and constructive steps” toward resolving their differences, the Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs Ali Reza Enayati told the local media.

He also mentioned the earlier dispatch of Iranian representatives to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) headquartered in Saudi Arabia where their cooperation with the OIC was facilitated by Saudi officials, reports Xinhua news agency.

The official hoped that further negotiations between the two major regional Muslim states would pave the way for the participation of Iranian pilgrims in the annual Haj in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016 in protest against the attacks on its diplomatic missions in Iran following the kingdom’s execution of a Shia cleric.

The relations further soured during the Yemeni civil war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the internationally-recognised government supported by the Saudi-led coalition.

Enayati said Raisi’s February visit to Qatar, during which 15 memoranda of understanding were signed, and the president’s upcoming trip to Oman on Monday are also signs of improvement of Iran’s relations with Gulf Arab states.

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