Iran Says Saudi Talks on ‘Right Track’

Discussions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are on the right track but it will take more time to restore bilateral ties, Iran’s foreign minister said in Beirut Friday.

Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni kingpin Saudi Arabia, on opposing sides in multiple regional conflicts, have been engaged in talks since April with the aim of improving relations, for the first time since cutting ties in 2016.

The discussions were launched under Iran’s former moderate president Hassan Rouhani and have continued since his ultraconservative successor, Ebrahim Raisi, took office in August.

“The Iran-Saudi dialogue is on the right track,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said during a news conference at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, on the second day of a 48-hour visit to Lebanon.

“We have achieved results and agreements, but we still need more dialogue,” he added.

“The two parties will announce these agreements at the appropriate time. We welcome the continuation of the talks and the results that benefit both sides and the region,” he said.

Abdollahian added: “It was not us who broke off diplomatic relations — that was a Saudi decision.”

The two countries cut ties in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic following the kingdom’s execution of a revered Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are at odds over several regional issues, including the devastating war in Yemen and the political chaos in Lebanon.