Iran: Regional peace entails countering terrorism

Iranian president expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia would gain a better understanding of the realities on the ground in the region, and stressed that campaign against terrorism would usher in peace.

Speaking in a televised speech on Tuesday night, President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that Iran sees no obstacle in the way of restoration of ties with Saudi Arabia.

He underlined that the problem Riyadh has does not lie with Tehran, but with the region.

“We hope that they (Saudis) would understand the region’s conditions and realize that peace will materialize by setting the terrorists aside,” President Rouhani said.

He also pointed to Iran’s intensified diplomatic efforts in recent months to strengthen relations with the regional countries, particularly with the neighbors.

Apart from the broadening relations with Russia and China, Iran has forged stronger ties with Oman, Turkey, Iraq, Azerbaijan and the whole nations whose officials have visited the country over the past months, Rouhani explained.

A turnabout in Iran's foreign policy and its focus on improving ties and reducing tensions with regional countries seem to be in line with President Rouhani's outreach to the outside world.

In September 2013, Rouhani hailed Saudi Arabia as a close friend of the Islamic Republic, and expressed both nations’ willingness to smooth over "trivial tensions" that have strained bilateral relations.

Referring to Saudi Arabia as a “friend and brother” of Iran, the Iranian president had announced that both sides were “willing to remove trivial tensions from the path (of bilateral ties) in order to fulfill bilateral and the Islamic world’s interests.”

He had also stated that Tehran and Riyadh have a lot of common interests and enjoy regional commonalities, and emphasized the need for upgrading the level of interactions between the two Muslim countries.