The Iranian government’s spokesman, Ali Rabei, confirmed on Friday that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reported a letter from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to Pakistan, requesting dialogue with Iran.
The Iranian spokesman stated that his country “does not see the need for having dialogue with Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Yemenis, or in their absence.”
This statement occurred a day before the arrival of Khan to Tehran, who is scheduled to meet Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, in the framework of what is believed to be mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, according to press reports.
The Iranian news agency quoted the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn, as stating that Khan will hold official talks on Sunday with Rouhani, and then go to Riyadh for talks with officials in Saudi Arabia.
In the same context, Pakistani sources claim that Khan’s visit to Tehran aims to pave the way for “easing tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, fuelled by conflicts, especially the one which has been ongoing in Yemen for years.”
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly held in late September, the Pakistani prime minister confirmed that the US president, Donald Trump, and the Saudi crown prince asked him to mediate with Iran, to defuse tensions between both countries.
The former Iranian diplomat, Amir Mousavi, told Al-Jazeera that according to leaks and indicators, the message Khan conveyed is “a clear proposal from Saudi Arabia, specifically from Bin Salman, to address bilateral relations and regional conditions, and end the war in Yemen.”
Mousavi added that Khan would convey Bin Salman’s vision to Tehran, as well as the Iranian response to Riyadh, where he will visit just after Iran.
He pointed out that there may be an Israeli-American escalation in the region to prevent rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, explaining that targeting an Iranian tanker near the Saudi port of Jeddah could fall in the same context.
On 4 October, Reuters reported unnamed diplomatic sources as declaring that “Saudi Arabia is seriously considering a Houthi proposal for a ceasefire in Yemen and an end to the five-year war between the two parties.”
A European diplomat disclosed that the Saudi crown prince “wishes to withdraw from Yemen, so we have to find a way out while saving face,” the agency announced.