Why Iranian-Saudi talks are important



The Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan is seen during a press conference in Berlin, Germany, February 21, 2020. / Getty

The Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan is seen during a press conference in Berlin, Germany, February 21, 2020. / Getty

Publisher’s Note: Bobby Naderi is a London based journalist, guest writer for print, radio and television and documentary filmmaker. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Regional arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia are expected to improve their relations and have made some arrangements in their reconciliation negotiations to build trust and end hostilities.

According to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, further talks are needed to improve relations, but the negotiations have gone in the right direction and have “been well received”.

His Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, has also confirmed that his country held its first round of face-to-face talks with the new Iranian government last month, and expressed hope that Iran will provide a foundation to address unresolved issues , and “we will try and work on it”. realize that. “

At least if the two neighbors are hoping to become a stable region for all, especially for Yemen and Syria, it is time to approach the dialogue and what is really possible in a thoughtful and realistic way focus. In order to reverse the entrenched distrust on both sides, good faith is also crucial.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are on opposing sides in the Syrian and Yemeni conflict. This makes the ongoing negotiations in the interests of the war-torn countries. They can also end Iran’s regional isolation by understanding that good relations with Arab neighbors are more important than agreements with the US. Best of all, this great diplomatic leap forward can serve as a model for other countries desperately trying to overcome a failed status quo imposed on them by the West.

It is therefore not surprising that the new Iranian government under President Ebrahim Raisi gives regional diplomacy priority over other issues such as the settlement of the nuclear dispute with the US. Tehran is in no hurry to revive the nuclear deal, but is concentrating its foreign policy on the region.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will hold his first press conference after winning the presidential election in Tehran on June 21, 2021. / Getty

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will hold his first press conference after winning the presidential election in Tehran on June 21, 2021. / Getty

This could also have something to do with President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan policy and the lost war. Many regional countries that believed in Washington’s support have joined a growing line of abandoned and frustrated allies. The imperial catastrophe and the turn to Asia, unsurprisingly, have prevented many countries from ever trusting Washington’s words and promises again. The conclusion is that the US has lost its global role and is no longer trustworthy at all.

In such conditions, Tehran and Riyadh are doing the right thing to resume dialogue and rethink their regional policies and plans, particularly in Syria and Yemen. The US will do nothing to resolve its regional disputes. Their bad leadership and their demoralizing effect on the region brought no order or tension. It is now up to the countries in the region to take matters into their own hands to solve their problems.

Beyond the closed circle of official Washington, talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia can and should help resolve the Yemen crisis by entering into a dialogue with key supporters of the Houthi militias. For Iran, good relations with Riyadh normalize intra-Arab relations and pave the way for circumventing US sanctions. Support for the Arab countries will also play an important role in ending the Syrian conflict.

Certainly, Riyadh and Tehran can win if they revive relations on the basis of common reasons and in the interests of the region. The man-made humanitarian disasters in Syria and Yemen cannot last forever. Other countries too must come to the same conclusion that they will always remain neighbors to Iran and that the US will not support them forever. Without dialogue and agreements there can be no peace and no regional security. The road ahead is difficult, but it is feasible and necessary to achieve concrete results.

All countries in the Middle East share a common interest in firmly affirming the unity and security of the region and in ending the US military presence and interference. Many are involved in the Syrian and Yemeni conflicts and are not happy to have an indefinite US military presence with a clear goal of widespread dominance that is inexorably dwindling.

Clearly, for Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, factors such as the debacle in Afghanistan, the failure of sanctions and diplomatic pressure, the crisis in Syria and Yemen, and a shift in the US focus on Asia mean that diplomacy is the only way out regarding the situation with Iran. They know that the US cannot be trusted and that any country could easily become the next target of the military-industrial complex and the cult of air warfare.

Despite their ideological differences and the different views in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, Tehran and Riyadh are aware that their reconciliation negotiations must continue. You have tremendous responsibility – and opportunities – to ensure that the new diplomatic approach succeeds, which has a significant impact on the fate of the entire region.

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