News Analysis: Chance of breakthrough in Iran-Saudi ties slim, but likely

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-12 18:33:20|Editor: Xiang Bo
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by Hassan Rouhvand

TEHRAN, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Although chances to reverse the course of confrontations between the two regional rivals of Iran and Saudi Arabia have grown slim over the past years, Iranians continue the calls to mend the bilateral ties.

"Saudi Arabia is Iran's neighbor and Iran has been trying to improve relations with the Saudis over the past years," Foad Izadi, the Iranian expert on international issues, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, he has tried to reduce tensions with the Arab kingdom, Izadi, also a professor at the University of Tehran, pointed out.

The Iranian political expert believed "the problem is that the Saudis are not interested (in the efforts to de-escalate tensions), particularly after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud came to power and started a confrontational policy towards Iran."

In the meantime, "Washington has tried to follow a divide and rule policy, creating tensions between the two countries, using its propaganda tools," he said.

Boost of influence in West Asia has been a major thorny cause which has put Tehran and Riyadh at odds for decades, with the latter being the top Middle Eastern ally of the United States.

Washington has announced that it would oppose Iran's expansion of influence in West Asia. Since June 2015, it has started imposing "tough" sanctions on the Islamic republic's oil and financial sectors to further curb Iran's nuclear program and to suppress Tehran's growing sway across the Middle East.

To counter the impacts of U.S. "adverse" policies, Rouhani has proposed Hormuz Peace Initiative "aiming at bringing regional countries together to create stability."

"From Iran's points of view, there is no problem in developing ties with neighbors and resuming relations with Saudi Arabia," Rouhani announced in his recent remarks.

Iran and Saudi Arabia need to leave aside their feud and look forward to solving regional problems through cooperation and dialogue, he said.

Last week, Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, also announced that his government "welcomes efforts to resolve issues and is open to settle differences with its Gulf neighbors, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as quickly as possible."

After all, "Iran does not consider Saudi Arabia to be an enemy ... Iran has no intention for a confrontation with Saudi Arabia," Izadi said, expressing optimism for a likely breakthrough.