A report on Iran’s six-month trade with neighboring countries released by IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi put Saudi Arabia on the list of export destinations.
According to the official, trade between the two countries reached zero in Iran’s most recent fiscal year ending March 20, 2021 after years of decline.
In remarks published by the Financial Times on Friday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud signaled his country’s desire to restore relations with Iran, saying the kingdom was “serious” about the issue. subject of talks with the Islamic Republic.
The two Middle Eastern heavyweights have held four rounds of talks since April, including a first meeting last month with the government of new President Ebrahim Raisi.
“We take the talks seriously,” he said, calling the negotiations “exploratory” but “cordial”.
âFor us, it’s not that big a change. We have always said that we want to find a way to stabilize the region, âhe said.
Trade Development Organization deputy export development minister Farhad Nouri last week said Iran was ready to resume exports to Saudi Arabia if tensions ease between the two neighbors. .
Nouri referred to the active presence of Iranian exporters in the Saudi market when relations between the two countries were normal, saying that if the current reconciliation efforts are successful, traders will be the immediate beneficiaries and exports will increase dramatically.
âThe Saudi market is very large in terms of consumer goods, and given the cultural proximity, the issue of Hajj and sacred shrines and the traditional presence of Iranian traders in the Saudi market, our exporters know the taste of this market, âhe said. .
Riyadh is considering an Iranian request to open its consulate in the port city of Jeddah, the Financial Times said on Friday, citing an unnamed Saudi official.
Saudi Arabia unilaterally severed diplomatic ties with Iran in January 2016 after angry protests outside its embassy in Tehran in reaction to the kingdom’s execution of a high-profile Shiite scholar.
In his interview, Prince Faisal indicated Riyadh’s intention to mend the barriers after years of pursuing an aggressive policy towards the Islamic Republic.
âThe leaders have a clear policy that the priority is prosperity, nation building, Vision 2030, and you cannot achieve these things with a region in turmoil,â he said. âSo while we vigorously defend our national security and sovereignty, we will also try to resolve them through diplomacy. “
According to a senior Iraqi official familiar with the progress of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic has called on the kingdom to help sell Iranian oil.
For years Saudi Arabia had tried to contain Iran’s oil exports, once ensuring former US President Donald Trump increased production to cover any shortages in the market when he unveiled his campaign to bring Iranian sales to zero.
Prince Faisal cited a “confluence of events that made it seem like the right time” to speak to Iran. âWe were always ready to talk if they could really be serious,â he said. “Various factors came into play.”
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last month expressed hope that Riyadh’s direct dialogue with Tehran would lead to confidence building.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh then said Tehran was happy with the way negotiations went with Saudi Arabia, stressing that the two regional actors have the capacity to build relationships. “Sustainable”.