Envoy Calls for Stronger Riyadh-Tehran Relations

RIYADH-A senior Iranian diplomat called for strengthening relations between Riyadh and Tehran in order to boost political efforts to solve regional problems.

The diplomat made his remarks following talks with Prince Naif, interior minister, and Prince Salman, Riyadh governor.

The Iranian Ambassador, Mohammad Hosseini, said: “The present tension in states such as Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine make political efforts vital and necessary.”

Ambassador Hosseini stressed the need for strengthening ties between the Kingdom and Iran, saying: “The two friendly Muslim countries can be effective in solving the problems facing the Middle East.”

The region as a whole, especially the Kingdom and Iran, is very significant in terms of enormous oil and gas reservoirs.

“Moreover, Riyadh and Tehran possess great potential on the political, economic and cultural fronts and can positively influence the improvement of relations between other countries.” said Hosseini.

The ambassador said that the talks with Saudi officials included several subjects with special reference to the religious, cultural and historical affinity between the two nations.

Hosseini referred to Iran’s determination “to develop relations between the two nations as a priority for foreign policy,” and hoped that by achieving that goal, both countries would gain fruitful results in line with their national interests.

Iran and Saudi Arabia signed a security cooperation accord during the visit made by Prince Naif to Tehran in 2001.

Hosseini, who earlier served as ambassador to Senegal, also emphasized the political will of the two countries to expand bilateral relations in all sectors.

On the commercial front, Riyadh and Tehran have forged closer relations.

There are 23 Iranian enterprises currently active in Saudi Arabia with two Saudi firms investing in fruit juice production and pack- aging industries as well as in cement and auto parts businesses in Iran.

At the moment, there are 18 joint venture projects with a total capital of more than SR1.2 billion. This is in addition to the growing bilateral cooperation in oil sector.

Iran has 75 percent of the total world’s oil reserves and the two countries have already upgraded their relations substantially since bilateral ties were restored in 1991.

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