Iran FM visits Lebanon, discussed Yemen war with Omanis after reconciliation with Saudis
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian landed in Lebanon on Wednesday night in his first visit to the country since regional powerhouses Iran and Saudi Arabia reached a reconciliation deal.
Abdollahian will meet with senior Lebanese officials including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati during his two-day visit, Iranian state media reported.
After his meeting with Abdollahian, Lebanese foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib said at a press conference that he hoped improved ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia would bring good to Lebanon.
Abdollahian said Iran would support any agreement to bring about the election of a president in Lebanon, which has been without a president since October of last year due to political squabbling.
He said Iran wanted to strengthen relations "in all fields", including the economy, energy, tourism, and trade.
Like many other countries in the Middle East, both Iran and Saudi Arabia back different political actors in Lebanon. Iran has long backed the powerful Hezbollah militia.
But in March, Iran and Saudi Arabia signed a Chinese-brokered deal to restore diplomatic relations.
That deal has sparked hopes of resolution of deep-running conflicts in the region — including in Yemen, where forces backed by Iran and Saudi Arabia have been fighting each other for eight years.
Before his visit to Lebanon, Abdollahian was in Oman for two days of talks with officials including Omani counterpart Badr al-Busaidi.
The Iranian FM said he discussed with the Omanis the war in Yemen, Iran’s stalled nuclear talks with the US, and even war in Ukraine, in which Iran has been accused of aiding the Russians.
On Yemen, he said he discussed with Omani officials "the need to accelerate the humanitarian abolition of the blockade completely, as well as a sustainable ceasefire and Yemeni dialogues", Iranian state-linked media quoted him as saying.
He thanked Muscat for its role in trying to keep the nuclear deal talks alive, reports said.
Oman has long been involved in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal and Yemen peace talks between the Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Hopes are growing of a substantial deal for the latter, after hundreds of prisoners held by Saudi and Yemeni forces were freed earlier this month as part of a prisoner release agreement.
The Iranian FM met with Houthi officials in Tehran on Tuesday, saying Tehran welcomes action leading to the "establishment of a comprehensive ceasefire and understanding between the Yemeni political groups," Iranian state-linked media quoted him as saying.