September 24, 2023

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New Momentum in Iran-Saudi relations

TEHRAN- Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia soon as part of Iranian-Saudi efforts to upgrade their relations. 

Iran confirmed that Amir Abdollahian will pay a visit to Saudi Arabia soon, with press reports saying that the visit could take place on Thursday. 

The upcoming visit by the Iranian foreign minister comes after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan visited Iran in June when he met with Amir Abdollahian and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Therefore, the Iranian foreign minister could also meet with the leaders of Saudi Arabia. So far, no official statement has been made as to whom the Iranian foreign minister will meet in Riyadh other than Prince Faisal. But it’s likely that he will also meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman given the positive atmosphere that currently exists in Iran-Saudi relations.

Since March, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been accelerating steps to move their bilateral relations to the next level. They signed a landmark agreement in Beijing in March which ushered in a series of confidence-building steps. 

In his June meeting with bin Farhan, the Iranian foreign minister welcomed any move to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, calling for launching a joint economic commission to this end and for holding a meeting of the commission in the near future, according to a statement by the Iranian foreign ministry.

The foreign minister of Iran also proposed the formation of joint consultation committees and exchange of expert views in order to bolster political and consular ties as well as relations in such areas as tourism, transit, land, sea and air transportation, energy, environment, fisheries and fighting drug trafficking.

 Iran’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alireza Enayati, further underlined the need for strengthening economic cooperation between Tehran and Riyah. He said security is no longer solely based on militarism and is now intertwined with economy, trade, and development, highlighting the commitment to sustainable development based on a mindset of sustainable security.  

Pointing to the expansion of Tehran-Riyadh relations from merely bilateral to multilateral areas, Alireza Enayati said on Wednesday that through multilateral relations, capacities, and facilities of the countries would be available to each other, enlisting transportation, and transit as areas that multilateral relations can strengthen. 

Enayati labeled the establishment of the joint commission as a ‘roadmap for the relations between the two countries,’ which can boost the ongoing limited trade, and said: “On the part of Iran, the Ministry of Petroleum is responsible for the establishment of the Iranian commission.” 

He stated that introducing the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Iran is also on the agenda of the Saudi side.
The Iranian ambassador made the remarks in an interview with the Iranian Donyaye Eghtesad daily.

He further said that there are agreements for air and sea transport between the two countries, expressing hope that these agreements will lead to the resumption of flights and the reopening of communication between the ports of the two countries.

High-level documents can facilitate and promote economic cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the private sectors of both sides will find areas for further cooperation, according to the Iranian ambassador.

By Mehran Shamsuddin

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