| 8 December 2023, Friday |

Iran is optimistic about reviving relations with Saudi Arabia

Tehran is optimistic about the future of bilateral relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, announced Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani.

Kanaani said talks between the two parties had made good progress in preparing their diplomatic missions in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Speaking at a weekly press conference, Kanaani hoped to see the official reopening of the two embassies as soon as possible, emphasizing Iran’s seriousness in implementing its obligations under the China-sponsored agreement to restore relations with Saudi Arabia.

On March 10, Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an agreement, brokered by China, to reestablish diplomatic ties and reopen embassies within two months, which was widely welcomed by the Arab and international community.

Last week, Kanaani said the Iranian missions to Saudi Arabia had taken their first steps to resume their diplomatic activity and hoped that the Saudi and Iranian embassies would reopen before May 10.

He asserted that there are no travel restrictions on nationals from their countries, especially for businessmen, adding that the possibility of issuing entry visas is much more attainable.

Moreover, he refused to comment on the visit of US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to Saudi Arabia, saying the agreed path between the Kingdom and Iran is advancing with the goodwill of the two parties, and Tehran is optimistic about the bilateral relations.

Reviving the nuclear deal

Kanaani said reviving the nuclear agreement is “possible” at the technical and diplomatic levels, blaming the Western parties, namely the US, for the delay.

Negotiations have taken place, and good agreements have been reached, but “other sides, especially the US, have procrastinated” on reviving the deal, he remarked, while expressing hopes that they would show “political determination” for a committed return to its implementation.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal concluded between Iran and six international powers exactly five years ago.

Since April 2021, Iran and the major powers have held talks to revive the agreement, in which Washington participated indirectly.

Negotiations faltered in early September 2022, with the Western parties confirming that the Iranian response to a draft understanding was “unconstructive.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found traces of nuclear materials in unauthorized sites, constituting a significant challenge during the talks.

Western parties called Iran to cooperate with the agency to resolve the issue by providing reliable technical answers. Tehran said the case was being “politicized.”

Kanaani on Monday said Tehran will “not allow issues related to its peaceful nuclear activity to become an obstacle in its cooperation” with the UN nuclear watchdog.

The IAEA director, Rafael Grossi, visited Tehran after his agency’s inspectors found uranium particles enriched to just under weapons-grade level. He announced that Iran agreed to restart surveillance cameras in nuclear facilities and increase the pace of inspections.

Kanaani said Iran is moving according to Grossi’s recommendations and in this regard, “practical and operational actions have been introduced, and we are moving forward.”

  • Asharq Al-Awsat