US prof says regional defeats behind Saudi reason for improving ties with Iran

Tehran, June 9, IRNA – A professor at US Georgetown University sees regional defeats particularly the one in Yemen War as Saudi Arabia's reason for improving relations with Iran.

Shireen Hunter made the remarks in an interview with IRNA.

With regard to deep disagreements between Tehran and Riyadh, rapid progress is not expected to be achieved in a short time, the research professor said.

The spirit of talks between the two regional powers is positive and important although it may not arrive at a conclusion, she added.

She also noted that the result of the upcoming presidential election in Iran may affect the fate of talks between Tehran and Riyadh.

Iran's 13th presidential election is slated for June 18.

Asked whether the talks can bring a sustainable agreement, the professor replied that such a prediction is difficult.

About the impact of the new US administration on change in Saudi Arabia's regional approach, Hunter said it has surely been effective in Riyadh's change in regional perspective.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Persian Gulf region have been affected by ties between Iran and the US; meanwhile, Riyadh cannot prevent nuclear agreement from being revived, she underlined.

Revival of the nuclear deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which the US withdrew unilaterally in May 2018, will ease tension between Tehran and Washington, she said adding Saudi Arabia, in this condition, will be compelled to adjust its stance on Iran.

Speaking about the effect of normalization of relations between Tehran and Riyadh on relations between Iran and other Arab countries, she said that such normalization of ties will not have direct impact on cooperation with other states.

Improvement in Tehran-Riyadh ties will not solve regional problems rapidly and directly, but it may relieve the tension and provide facilities for solving the problems, she concluded.

On May 10, the spokesman for Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh approved at his weekly press conference the news by a Saudi Arabia official about negotiations with Iran and said they focused on bilateral and regional issues.

Iran always welcomes such negotiations at any level, Khatibzadeh said, adding, “This is not a new policy.”

Referring to the serious attitude of Riyadh in the talks, the spokesman said that removal of tension and establishment of relations between the two Islamic countries are of benefit to both nations and the Persian Gulf region as well. 


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