EghtesadOnline: Iran should seize the opportunity provided by the toned-down rhetoric from Saudi and Emirati officials to mend strained bilateral relations, says a political analyst, who believes that the interests of Persian Gulf states lie in lasting peace and security in the region.
"The change in the approaches of Saudi Arabia and the UAE toward Iran heralds the possibility of negotiations to resolve disagreements and defuse tensions over issues that have pitted Iran against these countries for years," Javid Montazeran wrote in a recent article published by the Iranian Diplomacy website.
He was referring to the fact that Saudi and UAE officials have in recent months signaled their willingness to address their differences with Iran through diplomacy and are no longer beating the drums of war against the Islamic Republic.
"The two Persian Gulf Arab states have apparently replaced their policy of escalating confrontation and tensions toward Iran with a policy of détente," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Montazeran, an expert on international affairs, says interactions between Iranian and Saudi officials ahead of the hajj season created a positive atmosphere for further talks with Riyadh to resolve the remaining sticking points.
According to Iranian officials, about 88,000 Iranian pilgrims performed hajj this year in Saudi Arabia and received a high level of Saudi services.
Tehran's relations with the kingdom hit a new low after hundreds of Iranians died in the worst disaster to strike the annual hajj pilgrimage for 25 years on Sept. 24, 2015.
Tehran blamed the incident on the organizers' incompetence, while Saudi authorities suggested at the time some pilgrims ignored crowd control rules, which led to a deadly crush.
In January 2016, Riyadh severed bilateral diplomatic relations after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia without due process.
Montazeran said the new stance adopted by the Saudi and Emirati governments toward Iran can be partly attributed to the fact that they have grasped the full force of Tehran's military power, particularly following its shooting down of an intruding American drone and seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker for violating maritime rules.
"Under the current circumstances, it is recommended that organizations in charge of foreign relations—including Iran's Supreme National Security Council and the diplomatic apparatus headed by the Foreign Ministry—use the available opportunity in the best possible way to improve relations with these two countries," he said.
“Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE cannot afford to avoid political relations for a long time despite their numerous ideological disagreements. So they have to reach an understanding on the basis of mutual respect and national interests.”
Montazeran stressed that welcoming the policy of détente pursued by these two Arab nations and using this opportunity can help improve ties with Arabs and restore regional peace and stability.