Iran says ready for talks with Saudi, with or without mediation

October 12, 2019

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at "Common Security in the Islamic World" forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 29. — Reuters/File
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at "Common Security in the Islamic World" forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 29. — Reuters/File

Iran is prepared to hold talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia, with or without the help of a mediator, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Asked about reports that Prime Minister Imran, due to arrive in Iran at the weekend, may try to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “I am not aware of any mediation,” according to state broadcaster IRIB.

“Iran has announced that, with or without a mediator, it is always ready to hold talk with its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, to get rid of any misunderstandings,” Mousavi added.

Iran's foreign minister signalled this week that his country would be willing to discuss regional issues with Saudi Arabia, but that Riyadh had to stop “killing people”.

Saudi Arabia, which is locked in several proxy wars in the region with Iran, has blamed Tehran for attacks on Saudi oil plants on September 14, a charge Iran denies. The kingdom has said it prefers a political solution to a military one.