The Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has said that his country wants to establish “good and distinguished” relations with its neighbor, Iran.
Bin Salman said, during a television interview, that he wanted a prosperous Iran, but he had sparked what he described as “Tehran’s negative actions” with neighboring countries.
These statements come after six years of severing diplomatic relations between the two countries and accusing Tehran of destabilizing the region.
The Saudi Crown Prince added: “We do not want Iran’s situation to be difficult. On the contrary, we want Iran to grow and have interests in it and have interests in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to push the region and the world to grow and prosper.”
Bin Salman added, “Our problem is in Iran’s negative behavior, whether from its nuclear program or its support for outlaw militias in some countries in the region or its ballistic missile program.”
Earlier this month, an Iraqi government source and another Western diplomat said that a meeting in Baghdad in early April brought together two high-level delegations from Saudi Arabia and Iran. These discussions were kept confidential until the British newspaper “The Financial Times” revealed them.
While Riyadh denied this through official media, Tehran did not comment on the matter and was satisfied with affirming that dialogue with Saudi Arabia was “always welcome.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed in January that Tehran was open to dialogue with Saudi Arabia, in case the latter avoided violence, neglect of regional security, and cooperation with powers outside the region.
Qatar also offered to be a mediator between the two countries to reach a reconciliation between them.
Yemen and the Houthis
The Saudi Crown Prince called on the Houthis to come to the negotiating table “to reach solutions that guarantee the rights of everyone in Yemen and also guarantee the interests of the countries of the region.”
He added, “The offer made by Saudi Arabia is a ceasefire, economic support, and all they want in exchange for a ceasefire by Al-Houthi and sitting at the negotiating table.”
In response to a question about whether the decision to sit at the negotiating table is in the hands of the Houthis or Tehran, bin Salman said: “There is no doubt that the Houthi has a strong relationship with the Iranian regime, but also the Houthi, in the latter, is Yemeni and has an Arab and Yemeni tendency, in which I hope you will live more to take into account. His interests and those of his homeland before anything else. ”
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supporting the Houthis in Yemen, and the Houthis launch attacks against targets in the Kingdom using drones and ballistic missiles.
The Houthis oppose a military coalition led by Riyadh against them in the war in Yemen.
On Tuesday, the Saudi Ministry of Defense said that it destroyed a boat loaded with explosives off the port of Yanbu on the Red Sea, after “unconfirmed reports” spoke of an attack on a ship in the area.
“We intercepted a boat loaded with bombs and was destroyed this morning,” the ministry said in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The statement added that “the marine units were able to monitor and control the activity of the boat loaded with bombs in the waters of the Red Sea off the shores of Yanbu.”
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the alleged attack. The Ministry of Defense said it had opened an investigation.
The incident comes as fighting escalates in Yemen between Saudi-backed government forces and the Iran-backed Houthis.