Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday said Tehran would consider discussions with regional rival Saudi Arabia if the kingdom stops “killing people.”
“In a situation where the Saudis would like to negotiate with Iran, if they pursue regional issues at the negotiating table and not by killing people, they will certainly have the Islamic Republic along with them,” he said, according to the official IRIB news agency.
His comments come less than a month after drone attacks rocked key Saudi oil facilities that resulted in the temporary halt of 50% of Riyadh’s daily oil production. The U.S. and several allies have claimed Iran was responsible for the strikes, while Tehran has repeatedly denied involvement in the strikes.
The U.S. has since sent troops and defensive weapons to Saudi Arabia in the event of another attack.
Mr. Zarif’s latest notion that the two nations could hold direct talks largely stems from the ongoing conflicts in Yemen and Syria in which the Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslims and the Saudi-backed Sunni Muslims have grown to be fierce opponents. It also appears to be a dig at the fallout from the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a team of top Saudi officials in Turkey in 2018.
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