UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson says the Islamic Republic plays a key role in settling many of regional issues.
“Iran is an actor on so many scenes, I myself have…worked with Iranian officials on Afghanistan for instance. I worked also earlier on other issues related to [Persian] Gulf security,” Eliasson said in a Wednesday interview with al-Arabiya channel.
“I would say that if we could have a constructive Iranian role on several issues related to region’s security, [it] would be a gain,” Eliasson said, noting that diplomatic exchanges between Iran and Saudi Arabia would help improve the security of the region.
“One of the most important dialogues that can take place today is the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said.
Eliasson added that the talks between Tehran and Riyadh “could have strategic significance and could also [have] a great significance in a time you see, in my view, exaggerated and absolutely unnecessary tensions between people of different beliefs,” Eliasson said.
The comments come days after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal met on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Zarif described his talks with Faisal as a “new page” in bilateral Tehran-Riyadh relations, expressing hope that the meeting would have a positive impact on efforts to restore peace to the region and the world, and protect the interests of all Muslim nations.
Faisal also pointed to the sensitive situation in the Middle East and said mistakes of the past must be avoided, so that it would be possible to successfully end the crises plaguing the region.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly underlined Tehran’s determination to improve ties with neighboring Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, saying cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia will be vital for regional security.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are divided on a number of regional issues such as the situation in Syria and Bahrain.