Iran’s embassy in Beijing on Friday announced Tehran’s readiness to hold talks with Saudi Arabia based on a Chinese offer to mediate between the two regional rivals, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
The news agency reported that Tehran welcomed a mediation initiative proposed earlier this week by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi with a view to promoting regional stability.
In a Wednesday press statement, Yang had voiced hope that Tehran and Riyadh would “resolve their differences on the basis of equality and friendly consultation”.
China, he added, “is a friend to both countries and is ready to play a mediating role”.
The Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, frequently accuse Iran of meddling in their domestic affairs – claims denied by Tehran.
The Gulf States also say Tehran’s nuclear energy program poses a threat to regional security, although Tehran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful in nature.
Tensions mounted between the Gulf and Iran after Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Tehran early last year.
The move came after two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked by protesters following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by the Saudi authorities.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies also accuse Tehran of supporting the Shia Houthi militia group, which overran much of Yemen – including capital Sanaa – in 2014.
The ongoing conflict in Syria, meanwhile, in which the Gulf States and Iran support opposing sides, also contributed to the deterioration of Gulf-Iran ties in recent years.