Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said that Tehran and Riyadh have taken preliminary steps to exchange ambassadors in the context of the agreement to resume diplomatic relations.
He also expressed his country’s openness to the possibility of reaching a lasting peace in Yemen, as well as its willingness to participate in addressing the current crisis in Lebanon.
Speaking during the first press conference of the Iranian New Year, Kanaani commented on several regional developments, Iran’s nuclear plans, the swap of prisoners with the United States, as well as the escalating tension between Tehran and its northern neighbor, Baku.
The Foreign Ministry’s spokesman pointed to the arrival of a team of Saudi diplomats to Tehran on Saturday to assess the conditions and preparations for the reopening of the Saudi embassy in the capital, and its consulate in Mashhad, northeastern Iran. He expressed hope that an Iranian delegation would go to Saudi Arabia to arrange procedures for the reopening of the Iranian embassy in Riyadh and its consulate in Jeddah.
“It is certain that the recent agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia will have a positive impact on the development of relations… and will consolidate peace and stability and strengthen trade and economic relations between the two countries and the region,” Kanaani told the press conference.
On Yemen, the Iranian official noted that his country “agrees to extend the truce” with the aim to “create the favorable conditions for a lasting peace path, which is commensurate with the interests of the Yemeni people.”
On whether the Saudi-Iranian agreement will help resolve the Lebanese crisis, the spokesman said that both Iran and Saudi Arabia had good capabilities to help consolidate stability and calm, adding that Tehran was ready to provide support if the Lebanese parties requested it.
However, Kanaani spoke with cautious optimism about the resumption of relations with Bahrain.
When asked about a Bahraini delegation’s visit to Tehran, he said: “The positive atmosphere in the region and the resumption of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia affect the entire region. With regards to Bahrain, we are witnessing an atmosphere that calls for optimism, but let me not anticipate future developments, and let things take their political course.”
In parallel to his talk on the progress of regional relations, the Iranian foreign ministry’s spokesman presented a different picture regarding the nuclear agreement, and touched on the tense relations with Europe and the position on the indirect talks with the United States.
Kanaani repeated recent statements made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei last week, during his reception of government officials and parliamentarians, on the occasion of the New Year. He called for expanding diplomatic relations, and not restricting them to some Western countries, in order to help Iran overcome the current economic crisis, especially with the imposition of new sanctions due to the suppression of protests in September.