February 04, 2020
Iran wants to resolve differences with its Gulf foes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “as quickly as possible”, Tehran’s ambassador to Iraq said in remarks published on Tuesday.
Ambassador Iraj Masjedi said top commander Qassem Soleimani, killed at Baghdad airport by a U.S. drone strike last month, was carrying a message setting out Iran’s position on possible rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi state news agency reported.
“Tehran welcomes Iraq’s role in trying to solve differences between Iran and Saudi,” Masjedi was quoted as saying, referring to recent Iraq efforts to mediate between the regional rivals, expressing Iran’s “wish to resolve differences and challenges with Saudi and the UAE as quickly as possible.”
Masjedi made his remarks in an interview with the agency, which published excerpts in Arabic.
A senior Saudi official said last month that he was not aware of any message carried by Soleimani for mediation efforts between Riyadh and Tehran.
The killing of Soleimani struck a blow to Iran’s regional strategy. Soleimani was the mastermind behind Iran’s control, through proxy militia forces and political alliances, over a corridor of territory stretching from Tehran through Iraq to the Mediterranean via Syria and Lebanon.
The United States says it is determined to counter Iran’s influence in the region and has imposed economic sanctions on Iran’s oil sector and allies abroad and targeted its paramilitary forces.