The spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry says the country is prepared to hold talks with Saudi Arabia, with or without mediation, ahead of a planned visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Tehran.
“The Islamic Republic has announced that it is always ready, with or without a mediator, to hold talks with its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, so that if there is any misunderstanding, it could be cleared,” Abbas Mousavi said on Saturday.
He added that regional countries should prevent events that would allow “third parties and extra-regional countries to exploit this situation.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s readiness for talks with regional countries, which includes all countries, is an issue which has already been announced,” he said, noting that Tehran has made plans and initiatives in this regard.
Iran has always praised efforts by different countries that seek to establish security in the region with goodwill, he emphasized.
Asked about reports that the Pakistani prime minister, due to arrive in Iran on Sunday, may try to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh, the Iranian spokesperson said, “Till this moment, the issue of Imran Khan’s mediation has not been raised but the latest and most important regional and international developments will be discussed during the visit.”
He noted that Khan’s second visit to Iran is in line with the promotion of deep-rooted and cordial relations between the two countries.
Mousavi said the Pakistani prime minister is scheduled to hold talks with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
On the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, Khan held talks with President Rouhani, telling him that Islamabad was ready to have full cooperation with Tehran to ease tensions in the region.
The Pakistani prime minister made his first-ever official visit to Iran in April and held talks with Ayatollah Khamenei and senior Iranian officials, including President Rouhani.
In an interview with Turkish TRT World international news channel released on Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country welcomes efforts by intermediaries to arrange talks with Saudi Arabia, including those by the Pakistani prime minister.
“We’ve always been open to discussing anything with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is our neighbor. We’re going to be here together permanently,” Zarif said, adding, “We’ve never rejected any intermediary… We’ve always been open to mediation, and we’ve always been open to direct talks with our Saudi neighbors.”
Also on Tuesday, Zarif said that Iran will be a companion of Saudi Arabia if the kingdom changes course and pursues regional issues at the negotiating table instead of “killing people.”
“Under the circumstances that the Saudis have developed an interest in talking with Iran, if they pursue regional issues at the negotiating table, not by killing people, they will certainly have the Islamic Republic along with them,” Zarif said.
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