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Tehran: Restoring relations with Saudi Arabia will positively affect Lebanon

September 2, 2023 at 9:42 am

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) meets with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Buhabib (R) in Beirut, Lebanon on September 01, 2023. [Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Anadolu Agency]

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced on Friday that the restoration of Iranian-Saudi relations will “positively impact” regional issues, including Lebanon.

In a press conference at Tehran’s embassy in Beirut at the end of his two-day visit, Abdollahian confirmed that Tehran is conducting negotiations to restore his country’s relations with other countries.

While the Iranian minister did not mention specific countries, recent media reports spoke of Iran’s desire and efforts to normalise relations with Arab countries, including Morocco, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, after the resumption of relations between Tehran and Riyadh last March.

The Iranian minister confirmed his country’s readiness to establish energy plants in Lebanon if the latter agrees.

Abdollahian pointed out that the continued foreign interference in internal Lebanese affairs would further complicate matters.

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On another note, he added: “Any normalisation of relations with the Zionist entity (Israel) is a strategic mistake, and the Lebanese leaders have proven that they do not rely on external dictates.”

“During my meetings with Saudi officials, I heard proposals related to regional affairs, including Lebanese ones,” he continued, adding: “We support the return of relations to their normal state with Saudi Arabia, and there are secret and public talks with other countries to restore relations.”

The minister stressed his country’s continued support of the axis of resistance in favour of Lebanon confronting Israeli ambitions.

Abdollahian declared his country’s complete rejection of any: “External interference that affects political decision-making in Lebanon.”

He believes that the issue of accepting Iranian donations “requires a decision by the Lebanese authorities,” indicating: “As soon as the donation is accepted, Iran is ready to send technical teams and equipment to establish energy plants with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts.”

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Since 2019, Lebanon has been suffering an unprecedented economic crisis, which has led to a record collapse in the value of the local currency against the dollar, in addition to a shortage of fuel and medicine and the collapse of the citizens’ purchasing power.

Abdollahian pointed out: “The US made loose promises to Lebanon regarding the energy issue, but the issue of gas importation has not reached a settlement.”

Regarding Yemen, the Iranian minister stressed that his country: “Has always called for dialogue to stop the war on Yemen, and we hope that the existing dialogue will lead to an end to the war.”

Tripartite mediation efforts by China, Iraq and Oman led Iran and Saudi Arabia to sign an agreement to normalise relations in March 2023, after a seven-year severance following the storming of the Riyadh embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad, in protest against the execution of a Saudi Shia cleric at the time.

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