Saudi prince strikes conciliatory tone with Iran | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 29, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:11 AM, April 29, 2021

‘We want Iran to grow’

Saudi prince strikes conciliatory tone with Iran

Saudi Arabia's crown prince on Tuesday struck a conciliatory tone towards the kingdom's arch-nemesis Iran, saying he sought "good" relations, after sources said the rivals held secret talks in Baghdad. 

The two countries, locked in a fierce struggle for regional dominance, cut ties in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions following the kingdom's execution of a revered Shiite cleric.

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"Iran is a neighbouring country, and all we aspire for is a good and special relationship with Iran," Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a TV interview broadcast late Tuesday.

"We do not want Iran's situation to be difficult. On the contrary, we want Iran to grow... and to push the region and the world towards prosperity."

He added that Riyadh was working with regional and global partners to find solutions to Tehran's "negative behaviour".

That marks a change in tone compared to Prince Mohammed's previous interviews, in which he lashed out at Tehran, accusing it of fuelling regional insecurity.

The prince did not mention any negotiations with Tehran. Riyadh has officially denied the talks in its state-backed media while Tehran has stayed mum, asserting only that it has "always welcomed" dialogue with Saudi Arabia.

The initiative comes at a time of shifting power dynamics, as US President Joe Biden is seeking to revive the tattered 2015 nuclear deal that was abandoned by Donald Trump.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have backed opposite sides of several regional conflicts, from Syria to Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting the Huthi rebels.

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