Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein in Baghdad, Amir-Abdollahian thanked Hussein and the Iraqi government for their attempts to strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as Iran and Egypt.
“Within the framework of boosting cooperation with Muslim countries and the region, we welcome the restoration of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” he said.
“We express gratitude to Fuad Hussein’s efforts in closing the gaps between the two sides.”
The top Iranian diplomat also said that he had discussed with his Iraqi counterpart the continuation of cooperation within the framework of mutual agreements and based on the 1975 Agreement, particularly the issues related to the dredging of Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Roud) and the determination and repositioning of the thalweg line with the aim of developing the river’s neighboring provinces.
Egypt severed its diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980 after it welcomed the deposed Pahlavi ruler of Iran and also recognized the apartheid Israeli regime.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.
The kingdom then pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, especially during the administration of former US President Donald Trump, with whom the Saudi rulers had close ties.
Iraq has hosted several rounds of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the past two years. The two countries’ ties were severed in 2016 after the kingdom executed top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, sparking an attack on its Tehran embassy by angry protesters.
The Iranian foreign minister’s trip comes weeks after his Saudi counterpart paid a visit to Iraq, where he discussed the resumption of Tehran-Riyadh talks aimed at restoring their bilateral ties under the auspices of the Iraqi government.
Earlier on Wednesday, Amir-Abdollahian expressed satisfaction with the fact that Iraq has restored its “natural” role in the region.
‘Iran ready to conclude JCPOA talks’
The top Iranian diplomat also touched on the talks underway in Vienna since April 2021 aimed at salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and having US sanctions lifted, thanking the Iraqi government for its efforts to facilitate the negotiations.
Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran has for long been trying to reach a strong and sustainable agreement and has expressed its readiness to conclude the stalled negotiations.
“We are ready to take steps towards concluding the Vienna talks, based on previous negotiations and Iran’s red lines,” he said.
However, Amir-Abdollahian warned that Tehran is also ready to consider plan B in case the US continues to create obstacles in the course of talks, which remain stalled since August last year due to indecision and procrastination by the American side.
“Paradoxical messages are being received from the US side. If the US side takes another course, we’re ready to implement our Plan B,” he asserted.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was virtually put on the back burner after then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord and reinstated anti-Iran sanctions, prompting Tehran to gradually roll back its compliance with the deal.
Tehran and the remaining signatories to the deal have been engaged in hectic negotiations since April 2021 to restore the agreement and lift draconian US sanctions.
'Relations not limited to governments'
Amir-Abdollahian, during his visit to Baghdad, also sat down for talks with Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid in the presidential palace.
In the meeting, the top Iranian diplomat stressed the need for further development of Iran-Iraq ties. He said ties between the two countries are not limited to relations between the two governments, as the Iranian and Iraqi nations are also close to each other.
The Iraqi president, for his part, hailed “wide-ranging and deep” relations between Tehran and Baghdad, and stressed his country’s determination to work to develop bilateral cooperation.
'Iraq to continue to promote dialogue'
Iran's top diplomat also held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Amir-Abdollahian stressed the need for Iraq to protect its border with Iran and prevent inimical forces from making threatening moves against Iran.
The Iraqi premier said his government is ready to implement agreements made during his visit to Iran late November.
He also said Iraq will continue to contribute to efforts to maintain calm in the region and promote dialogue among regional countries.
During the visit, the top Iranian diplomat is also expected to hold talks with Iraq’s parliament speaker and several other senior officials.
Source: Press TV
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