Good relations preferred with Iran, Saudi Crown Prince says

The statement came amid speculations, indicating that the two regional rivals held secret talks through the Iraqi Prime Minister’s mediation in Baghdad.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that his country is seeking good relations with Iran. The statement came during the Crown Prince’s televised interview, given to the state-run news agency. Speaking upon the question regarding the relations with Iran, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that “Iran is a neighboring country, and we aspire to have a good and distinguished relationship with it.”

Although the Crown Prince expressed his country’s desire in this way, he also highlighted that there are still many issues that negatively affect the relations between the two countries, including Iran’s nuclear program, support towards illegal militias in the region, and the ballistic missile program.

“We do not want Iran’s situation to be difficult. On the contrary, we want Iran to grow… and to push the region and the world towards prosperity,” the Crown Prince said.

The Crown Prince also stated that the two countries are working on these issues to overcome them, without providing further details regarding the talks. Recently, the Financial Times reported that Saudi and Iranian delegations secretly met on April 9 in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. According to sources who have knowledge about the talks, the two delegations discussed the ways of easing tension between the two countries. Intensified military aggression of Yemen’s Houthis targeting the Kingdom was another issue that had been discussed during the talks in Baghdad, the sources added.

Regarding the Yemen crisis, the Saudi prince stated that the presence of illegal militia, referring to the Houthi group, on the Saudi border is not acceptable.

The diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran were cut when the Saudi Embassy in Iran was attacked by a group of Iranian protestors following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by Saudi authorities in 2016.

The Saudi Prince also commented on Saudi-US relations, particularly the latest situation under the Biden administration. Answering to question on this matter, he said that although there are disagreements on some points between the two countries and this is very natural, there is a consensus with the US administration of 90%.”

Saudi-US relations were tense following US President Joe Biden’s declassification of an intelligence report regarding the Khashoggi killing, which revealed that the Saudi Crown Prince approved the killing of the Saudi-origin prominent reporter.

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