Saudi-Iranian understandings to reopen the two countries’ embassies in Tehran and Riyadh. This was one of the most prominent outcomes of the meetings between officials of the two countries in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during the previous period.
Private sources revealed to “Arabi Post” the details of the agreements and understandings between the Iranian and Saudi sides, including stopping Saudi support for the opposition and Saudi investments in Syria and Iraq, in addition to proposals to establish an international road linking the Iranian cities of Mashhad, Iraq’s Karbala and Saudi Mecca.
This comes after a series of rounds that were held between the two sides in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where the Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, announced earlier that Riyadh held a fourth round of direct negotiations with Iran, on September 21, and is still in its stage. “Exploration”, during a press conference in the Saudi capital with the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell.
An Iraqi diplomatic source, familiar with the recent meeting between Iranian and Saudi officials, told Arab Post that the last round of dialogue between Tehran and Riyadh took place at Baghdad International Airport.
The source described the meeting as “very positive,” adding, “There was fear, after the dialogue rounds stopped due to the transfer of power in Tehran, that these talks would fail, but the last meeting, which was attended by Ali Shamkhani, Secretary-General of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, and Minister of State Adel al-Jubeir Saudi Foreign Affairs, portends more understandings, and it seems that both sides are determined to restore relations.
This round of negotiations is the first since Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took office last August.
According to Iranian security sources who spoke to Arabi Post, the file of talks with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been transferred from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Iranian Supreme National Security Council headed by General Ali Shamkhani.
Preparations for reopening embassies of the two countries
High-ranking private Iranian sources, who refused to reveal their name, confirmed to “Arabi Post” that there are Saudi security agencies that arrived in Iran to work on renovating the Saudi embassy in order to arrange the reopening of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad after Iranian demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate. In the city of Mashhad in 2016, following the execution of the Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Those sources confirm that the Saudi security delegation worked to modernize the security and technical system inside the Saudi embassy and consulate, and to ensure that they were not exposed to any intrusions before reopening them.
On the other hand, an Iranian security delegation arrived to re-arrange the opening of the Iranian embassy in Riyadh and the consulate in Jeddah, according to the assurances of the well-informed security source, which in turn will work to re-equip the opening of the Iranian embassy and consulate in Riyadh and Jeddah.
For his part, an Iranian political analyst close to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Qais Qureshi, indicated that the opening of embassies in the two countries is a goodwill gesture and the beginning of resolving many issues between the two parties.
In exclusive statements to Arabi Post, Qureshi indicates that Iran prefers to divide the files separately, and that each file is discussed individually and not at once, noting that Tehran assured Riyadh through the negotiations that were conducted on the need to open embassies in the beginning before reaching a conclusion. For any settlement or agreement related to the Yemeni or Syrian file.
Qureshi stated that the Iranian side informed his Saudi counterpart that after the reopening of embassies, the negotiations will become public, and the diplomatic representation will increase in the following negotiations.
The road from Mashhad to Mecca
A source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi told Arab Post that the latter proposed to the Saudi and Iranian sides the establishment of an international highway linking the Iranian city of Mashhad and Mecca, and passing through the Iraqi city of Karbala.
“This road has a great indication of the depth of relations,” he added, as the city of Mashhad is considered one of the most important religious cities sacred to Shiite Muslims inside and outside Iran, as it includes many Shiite shrines, like the Iraqi city of Karbala.
According to the previous source, both the Iranian and Saudi sides were enthusiastic about this proposal. An Iranian security source told Arab Post, “The idea is very good, and I hope it will be implemented, and the higher leadership in Tehran will not mind implementing this proposal.”
According to Iraqi and Iranian officials and diplomats who spoke to “Arabi Post”, the Iranian delegation asked its Saudi counterpart not to restrict the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia, and to allow them to perform Hajj rituals in the Iranian city of Mashhad, without being subjected to security harassment.
Stop supporting the armed opposition
In the rounds of negotiations, the political roles played by the two sides in the region were reviewed, according to what high-level sources told Arab Post, which clarified that Iran stipulated that Saudi Arabia, before reopening embassies and diplomatic relations, stop supporting the opposition and provide any political or media support. or her money.
On top of these conditions is stopping Saudi Arabia’s support for Jaish al-Adl, which is based in Baluchistan, southeast Iran, and represents the Sunni opposition in the region, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, and the Ahwazi opposition factions; Tehran accuses Riyadh of providing support and financing for the armed group’s attacks that were carried out against the security and military authorities of the Iranian regime.
Stop the media exchange
According to the Iraqi diplomatic source, among the issues discussed by the two parties was the issue of media campaigns launched by the two sides against each other. He told Arab Post, “Iran has asked Saudi Arabia to stop the work of Persian-speaking channels and news sites, which are directly funded by Saudi Arabia, and which raise false news and spread a hostile image of the Islamic Republic,” as he put it.
It is noteworthy that the most famous of these Saudi-funded Persian-language channels is Iran International, which adopts a rhetoric against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
According to the same source, Iran also asked the Saudi side to stop funding Ahwazi journalists who oppose the Islamic Republic and who reside outside Iran.
An Iranian security source, who was among those present at this meeting, told Arabi Post, “It is not possible to move forward with any positive relationship with Riyadh, before it stops its support for groups and people working on negative propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”
The Yemeni file..a roadmap
The war in Yemen has received significant attention at the negotiating table between Tehran and Riyadh. The Iranian delegation stated that they had no objection to finding a settlement in the Yemeni file, assuring them that Riyadh should proceed with the conclusion of an agreement and a political settlement that would bring together both the legitimate government in Yemen on one side and the “Ansar Allah” group on the other, and it would be in the presence and sponsorship of Saudi Arabia. Iranian.
In this regard, an Iraqi source, close to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who was present in this round of negotiations, told Arab Post that the most important and biggest issue in the last meeting was how to end the war in Yemen and share power.
In the same context, an Iranian security source, who was present in the Iranian delegation headed by Ali Shamkhani, told Arab Post that the high command in Tehran informed the Houthis of Riyadh’s desire to end the war and negotiate with Houthi leaders, who expressed their full readiness to resolve this issue. They are expected to be a party to the Iranian-Saudi negotiations in the near future.”
The Iraqi and Iranian sources who spoke to “Arabi Post” did not explain the specific steps that the two sides discussed to resolve the Yemen crisis, saying only that these steps will be discussed in detail in the next round of the Iranian-Saudi dialogue.
An Iraqi diplomatic source told Arab Post, “The Iranians and the Saudis agreed on the broad outlines of the roadmap for resolving the Yemen issue, but the rest of the details will be discussed in their capitals, and then raised again in the future round.”
With regard to the Syrian file, the Iranians expressed, through discussions with the Saudi side, their agreement that Saudi Arabia should have a role in the reconstruction of Syria and inject investments in it, as the sources indicate that the Iranians have the green light from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to negotiate with the Saudi side on the issue of reconstruction. Syria, and discussing the issue of Saudi investments in Syria in the future.
An Iranian security source familiar with the meeting told Arab Post, “In the coming days, we will witness the beginning of a good relationship between Saudi Arabia and Syria. The Saudis are open to consolidating their relationship with Bashar al-Assad.”
Saudi investments in Iraq
Regarding Saudi investments in Iraq, which Iran and its allies in Iraq stood against in earlier times, Riyadh asked Tehran to allow it to invest in Iraq without being harassed by Iraqi armed factions close to Iran.
A source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi told “Arabi Post”, “The Iranians are afraid of the issue of Saudi investment in Iraq, and at the same time they realize the importance of Saudi investments to Iraq, which is suffering from economic crises, so they agreed in principle to this matter, but with conditions Including that Riyadh does not take over the reconstruction of Sunni cities, and does not try to win over the Shiites in the southern regions of Iraq through these investments.
This was actually translated through a series of security and economic meetings conducted by Saudi delegations to Iraq, during which they held meetings with Iraqi officials to activate and enhance economic communication and open investment fields between the two countries, in addition to enhancing the security aspect. A Saudi security delegation recently visited the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, And he held talks with officials to enhance ways of cooperation in efforts to combat extremism and terrorism.
Informed security sources confirmed that the Saudi delegation met with the Iraqi National Security Adviser, Qassem Al-Araji, in Baghdad, and they discussed the issue of the infiltration of Saudi fighters into Iraq, and to ensure that they do not reach Iraq in the future, given that there are Saudi prisoners still languishing in Iraqi prisons, against the background of terrorist cases. Affiliation with ISIS.
The American withdrawal and the limitation of the Turkish role
It seems that the main reason for the Saudi-Iranian understandings is primarily due to the two parties’ understanding of the principle of sharing roles in the region, and that the method of conflict between them is no longer feasible, but other reasons, according to analysts and observers, led to this rapprochement.
In turn, the head of the Future Foundation in Washington, Intifada Qanbar, who is close to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, confirms in an exclusive interview with “Arabi Post”, that Saudi Arabia has the nature of being in line and complimenting and does not clash with Washington’s policies and the policies of the White House, and this is a positive sign, because Riyadh Washington is its strategic ally, so a clash with the United States does not serve Saudi Arabia.
Qanbar added, “These discussions have a lot to do with the issue of the strong tendency of the American administration led by Joe Biden to negotiate with Tehran regarding the nuclear project, unlike the era of former President Donald Trump, in which Saudi Arabia’s tone was strong and escalatory toward Iran, but after Trump the color of these statements changed. To a tone closer and more conciliatory with Tehran.”
The Iranian political analyst, who is close to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Qais Qureshi, stated that the reason behind these rounds of dialogue between Riyadh and Tehran is primarily due to the American withdrawal from the region, which made Saudi Arabia resort to agreeing to hold such meetings with the Iranian side, revealing at the same time that The Saudi government was rejecting any mediation with Iran, during the era of former President Donald Trump, as Riyadh was setting impossible conditions and stipulating that before conducting any negotiations with Tehran, the reduction of Iranian influence in the region.
With the departure of the Americans and their withdrawal from the region, in addition to Saudi Arabia’s problems with the American administration represented by the Democrats, Saudi Arabia does not want the region to be subjected to any political vibration, according to Qureshi’s view, and it realized that it had to divide the roles between it and Iran.
In addition, Tehran and Riyadh want this step to reduce the Turkish role, given that Saudi Arabia withdrew from supporting the Syrian opposition and from supporting armed organizations, unlike Ankara, which insists on its support, and this led to finding common points between Tehran and Riyadh, he said.
He pointed out that Iran did not object to Saudi Arabia playing a role in Iraq and Syria on the economic level and investing in them.
In the end, Qureshi believes that the era of estrangement between Riyadh and Tehran is about to end, after a estrangement that lasted for more than five years, against the background of an attack by elements loyal to the Iranian regime, the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad, stressing that after the opening of the embassies of the two countries there will be a shift. Quality in relations, and the two parties will work to resolve the thorny issues between them, especially the Yemeni and Syrian file.