After weeks of denouncing Saudi Arabia over falling oil prices — and days after blaming the Saudi Foreign Minister for the failure of a possible high-level meeting in Riyadh — Iran’s regime has renewed the possibility of engagement.
Iran’s top official for regional affairs, Ali Shamkhani, said Tuesday that the Islamic Republic’s policy is to launch “open, transparent and inclusive talks” with Saudi Arabia.
Shamkhani, who is Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was meeting Iran’s envoy to the Saudi kingdom, Hossein Sadeghi. He said talks could include all issues of mutual interest, including the threat of the Islamic State and the dispute over oil prices that have fallen 60% since June, with a more “pragmatic contribution” by Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The regime even distanced itself from its recent allegations of Saudi involvement in a “foreign plot” against Iran and the Islamic world, with Ambassador Sadeghi declaring that “misunderstandings between Iran and Saudi Arabia should be cleared”.
There was no obvious reason for the sudden shift in Iran’s tone. Only last weekend, officials said that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud had prevented a visit by his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to Riyadh. The officials specifically said that Saud’s remarks on the Syrian crisis had been provocative and supported “terrorism”.
President Rouhani has sought engagement with Saudi Arabia since his election in 2013, but has been challenged by hardliners opposed to warmer relations with the Saudis.
Rouhani on Charlie Hebdo Killing: “Catastrophic To Consider Insulting Others As Freedom”
President Rouhani has issued his first public statement on the mass killing at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris earlier this month.
Commenting on Charlie Hebdo’s representations of the Prophet Mohammad, Rouhani said:
It is catastrophic to consider insulting others as freedom and it is regretful that in our modern, civilized world some individuals are not aware of this fact.
Insulting others and stirring their emotions in the name of freedom is igniting extremism and preventing healthy relations between Islamic countries and other parts of the world.
Tehran initially condemned the assault that killed 12 people, following by the slaying of five others in the French capital; however, its main line has been denunciation of the publication of Mohammad’s image. Iranian officials have gone as far as to assert that French intelligence services were connected with the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
On Tuesday, the regime supported a protest outside the French Embassy.
Revolutionary Guards Put Out False Claim That Russia “Agrees to Deliver” Advanced Missile System
The misleading headline of the day is in Fars News, the outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, “Iran, Russia Agree on Delivery of S300 Defense System“.
Moscow cancelled the $800 million contract for the advanced anti-aircraft missile system in 2010, falling in line with UN sanctions against arms deliveries to Iran. Despite sustained efforts by Tehran to reverse the decision, the Russians have repeatedly held off any commitment.
Fars’ headline indicates that the breakthrough came on Tuesday during the visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu to Tehran. However, only general agreements for cooperation were signed, and Shoygu’s statement merely heralded a “long-term and multifaceted” military relationship with Iran and “a theoretical basis for cooperation in the military field”.
By EA WorldView
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