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Iran says Saudi Arabia contacting it through third parties

Ali Rabiei Impeachment (Mahmood Hosseini/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran says it has received messages from Saudi Arabia through third countries at a time of strained relations between the two Persian Gulf states.

Ali Rabiei, spokesman for Iranian President Hassan Rohani, told journalists on September 30 that Tehran welcomed the communication but that Riyadh’s “public message” such as ending “the attack on Yemen” was needed as well.

“If Saudi Arabia is really pursuing a change of behavior, Iran welcomes that,” Rabiei said. “Part of the Hormuz peace plan is also working with neighbors like Saudi Arabia, so Iran welcomes the process.”

He did not comment on the contents of the messages from Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia blames Iran for an attack on two of its major oil facilities on September 14 and has said that while it is pursuing a peaceful solution, the kingdom would regard it as “an act of war” if an ongoing investigation determines that the “missile and drone” attack was launched from Iranian territory.

President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials have also blamed the attacks on Iran, with whom tensions have spiraled since Trump withdrew the country from a 2015 nuclear deal that offered international sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program and announced a “maximum pressure” policy targeting Tehran’s leadership.

Tehran has rejected all accusations that it was involved in the strike.

Iran-backed Shi’ite Huthi rebels fighting in nearby Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks on the longtime U.S. ally, which has militarily supported Yemen’s government.

Many observers regard the Yemeni conflict as a proxy war between Sunni Muslim-majority Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite-led Iran.

On September 29, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman warned in an interview broadcast in the United States that oil prices could spike to “unimaginably high numbers” if the world doesn’t come together to deter Iran.

Nonetheless, he said he preferred a political solution with Iran to a military one.