TEHRAN (Iran News) – The spokesman for the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee has said Iran is ready to mediate between Yemen and Saudi Arabia to settle their conflict.
Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini also said that Saudi Arabia’s past actions against Iran along with some current stances and policies, are slowing down the negotiation process between Tehran and Riyadh.
“Iran has taken the initiative to sincerely improve relations and pursue the interests of the countries in the region, but only if the other side also enters into an honest interaction,” Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini told IRNA in a recent interview.
Abbaszadeh Meshkini added, “Establishing good relations and a regional power bloc with the involvement of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will benefit everyone.”
Meshkini said that the new Iranian government is trying to deepen relations with neighbors and remove the obstacles, especially with the countries bordering the Persian Gulf. He added that Iran is serious and faithful in this regard.
“If we consider the index of strengthening relations with Central Asian countries for the reason of economic affairs, during the last four months, our economic relations with these countries have grown by more than 200% in some cases. In the case of the Caucasus, you can see that in one month, four meetings were held at the level of senior officials, and at the end, a meeting took place between the two presidents of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan in Ashgabat. We also recently had another relationship with Turkey, and we made efforts towards Iraq and, above all, towards the countries south of the Persian Gulf. The number of delegations has increased and the Islamic Republic is doing its best,” he stated.
He added that naturally, these actions are followed by reactions because there must be communication between the two parties.
“We often saw positive reactions. Even in the case of Saudi Arabia, these reactions have been ‘seemingly’ positive,” he noted.
Meshkini noted that the use of the word “seemingly” about Saudi Arabia is intentional.
“The reason is that if we examine the history of the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia, even after the revolution, we come across different eras. In the 1980s, for example, you noticed that Saudi Arabia provided $40 billion in aid to the Baathist regime (of Saddam Hussein). In each period, we see some actions. For example, now, the Iran International network has been launched, which daily plots against Iran.”
According to the senior MP, over the past 40 years, wherever there has been a conspiracy against Iran, “Saudi dollar” has been behind the scenes.
“That’s why we understand these. The fact is that the Islamic Republic of Iran and countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey are important and influential countries in the region. We know that if these countries become allies and good relations are established between them, a synergy will take place and a center of unparalleled power in the world will be formed. A power pole that controls the world’s energy and can be a global power pole, and as a result all different countries can benefit from it. But when there is friction, not only the pole is not formed, but even the power of all three countries decreases and wears out. For this reason, Iranian rationality has always sought to establish relations with these countries,” he noted.
Meshkini noted that the rationality of Iranian politics has always sought to strengthen communication, but when Iran looks at the past and previous experiences, it naturally becomes cautious.
In May 2021, the King of Saudi Arabia sent positive signals for communication, the MP revealed.
“We took it and we did not reject it, but when we put it alongside other actions, we have to look at it with caution. For example, during a visit to the (United Arab) Emirates by a Saudi official, they issued a statement against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he noted.
According to the MP, by putting this statement and those signs together, it naturally leads the people to the conclusion that they should look at cases with caution even in positive situations.
“That’s why I said on television that we have shown both goodwill and seriousness, but this past is also behind us. We have an eye on the past and look at the current actions,” Meshkini reiterated.
However, the MP added that there are obstacles that both sides can overcome regardless of actions and reactions.
Talks were held and signals were sent on the sidelines of the Baghdad summit in Iraq, he said, adding when these messages were sent, there was a positive reaction from the other party.
“For any relationship, there must be a political will with rationality based on the interests of both parties. We understood this and came to this conclusion. They, too, must come to this conclusion and mutual understanding, and when they come to this mutual understanding, change in their behavior must be visible, but doing contradictory behavior does not show this,” he pointed out.
The MP exemplified the Saudi support for the Al-Ahwazi terrorist group, as well as the presence of a Saudi security official at a gathering of the Mojahedin-e-Khalgh (MEK) terrorist organization in Albania, or the launch of the Iran International network as destructive behavior.
“You also see the behavior of Saudi Arabia towards Hezbollah in the 2006 war. In the last 40 years, we have witnessed that Saudi dollars have been used more against the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he lamented.
Meshkini added that for any relationship there must be a political will with rationality based on the interests of both parties in view of the fact that Saudi dollars have been indirectly used against Iran.
“We have experience that the last time that the Americans took action against an ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran in South America, they received $60 million in funding from Saudi Arabia. Even in pressure against the allies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi dollars have been used. We do not want to highlight these and prevent restoration of relations with a country like Saudi Arabia. They were not too keen on the media, but in any case, when we sit at the negotiating table, the past naturally comes to mind,” he noted.
He added, unfortunately, Saudi Arabia approaches Iran whenever it encounters a problem that it cannot solve, exemplifying the 9/11 aftermath in which Saudi citizens were blamed for the incident.
Meshkini added that he prefers to say that the negotiations are held at expert level, as experts must work out the issues between the two countries first, and when it comes to a result, it becomes a formal negotiation.
“When the formal negotiation is not concluded, the cost for both countries will increase. For this reason, it is better to discuss the details in expert discussions. Now it may be at the expert level as well as at the security level. After all, Iran and Saudi Arabia are in a region with a high level of security risks. For some reason, the level of risk is high and there are many security components in the region, so naturally a layer of these expert negotiations can be security, but in any negotiations there are usually expert and preliminary negotiations,” he remarked.
“Yemen is an independent country”
The MP noted that Iran has received a message regarding mediation in the Saudi-Yemen conflict in the talks.
“Our answer is clear. Yemen is an independent country and we are interested in resolving the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Why do they need us? Yemen is their own neighbor. They can go and solve it themselves. When both sides asked us and agreed that the Islamic Republic should come to arbitrate, we did not reject it, provided that both countries wanted us to do so. Yemen is an independent country. The two countries should solve their own problems, but if both sides ask Iran, we will help,” he pointed out.
Meshkini said in his opinion Saudi Arabia also approached to Iran in the case of Yemen, which had a problem.
“We are ready to mediate, provided that both parties want us to be a mediator,” he reiterated.
He added that the art of politics is to turn conflicts into friendship and bridge the gap through communication.
We are ready to answer Saudis’ questions
Meshkini went on to say that the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee is receiving news about Iran-Saudi talks from the Foreign Ministry, but both sides are still far from this stage until the issue reaches an assuring point and the necessary preparations are made for the start of formal negotiations.
“Fortunately, there is no problem with us communicating. We have both good faith and seriousness, if the Saudis have a question, we are ready to answer and clarify it,” he remarked.
However, Meshkini asserted that Iran has many questions about Saudi Arabia.
“We have many questions about Saudi behavior. For example, the Saudi support for (Abdolmalek) Rigi. They supported these terrorists for years in one of our provinces,” he noted.
Rigi was the leader of the Jundullah terrorist group who was captured in 2010.
Saudis’ remarks in UAE shows they are captives of Iranophobia
On allegations that Iran is a threat to Saudi Arabia, Meshkini said that Iran never acts in a way that causes cost and damage to its neighbors.
“We are sorry that some neighboring countries are captives of the Iranophobia project. Examples are the remarks made by Saudi officials in the Emirates. We are not malicious about the genuine components of Saudi power. We oppose the presence of foreign countries in the region and their mischief in the region. We oppose giving part of the countries and their territory to establish a base for foreign countries. We are not opposed to the components of their authority. We consider their authority as our authority. Why do these countries align themselves with trans-regional powers and our enemies when foreigners interfere in our internal affairs? These issues must be clarified,” he concluded.