Iran’s foreign minister says revenge for the assassination of Iran’s celebrated anti-terror commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani is among the “absolute responsibilities” of the foreign ministry and other concerned organizations.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in an interview broadcast on state television Thursday evening while elaborating on the Ebrahim Raesi-led administration’s foreign policy.

“The issue of General Soleimani will never be forgotten. The issue is so deep that even [Russian President Vladimir] Putin pointed to the important position and role of General Soleimani during his meetings with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the Iranian president,” the top diplomat said.

The foreign ministry, he noted, has beefed up a committee that follows up on international issues, adding that the judiciary branch is also seriously pursuing the case.

“We consider avenging the blood of Martyr Soleimani in legal, international, and political arenas and deem following up on the issue in all its aspects as our absolute responsibility,” Amir-Abdollahian asserted.

General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were martyred along with their companions in a US drone strike on January 3, 2020.

The strike near the Baghdad International Airport was authorized by then-President Donald Trump.

The two noted anti-terror commanders were tremendously respected and admired across the region for their instrumental role in fighting and decimating the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Tehran-Riyadh talks set to enter ‘political’ stage

In other remarks during the interview, Iran’s foreign minister said Saudi Arabia has shown readiness to advance the ongoing talks from security to the political sphere, after progress in the previous five rounds hosted by the Iraqi government.

He said the two sides have reached some agreements, including on re-opening embassies in their respective countries.

“Last week we received a message from Iraqi foreign minister [Fuad Hussein] saying that the Saudi side is ready to move the phase of talks from a security one to a political and public one,” said the minister.

“We also expressed our readiness to continue talks at the political level so that it leads to the return of Iran-Saudi Arabia ties to the normal level.”

Riyadh decided to sever diplomatic relations with Iran back in January 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed by protestors who were enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr.

There was no change in Riyadh’s confrontational policy towards Tehran until 2021 when it signaled an inclination to mend fractured ties with Iran.

Iraqi government agreed to the role of mediator between the two countries and has so far hosted five rounds of talks in Baghdad.

Both Tehran and Riyadh have hinted at some progress in recent rounds of talks, although they remain divided over some contentious issues, mainly the devastating Saudi-led coaltion’s war on Yemen.

The Iranian foreign minister also pointed to the efforts to strengthen relations with its Persian Gulf neighbors, UAE and Kuwait, saying both countries will be sending their envoys to Tehran soon.

Following Saudi Arabia’s decision to sever ties with Iran in 2016, some other Persian Gulf states also followed suit, reducing the level of diplomatic ties, he said, adding that the new Iranian administration implemented measures last year, including the invitation of Persian Gulf states to the inauguration ceremony of President Raeisi, to improve the level of ties with neighbors.

“Efforts were made to use all practical plans as well as political and diplomatic capacities to strengthen ties with these states,” he stressed.

The efforts, according to the minister, have resulted in decisions of the UAE and Kuwait to introduce ambassadors to Tehran.

“The United Arab Emirates decided to introduce an ambassador to Tehran and the envoy will soon arrive in Tehran,” Amir-Abdollahian said, adding, “Kuwait has introduced its ambassador and we agreed; the new Kuwaiti envoy will enter Tehran in the coming days.”

The Raeisi administration has put a “balanced foreign policy framework” with regard to ties with the West and East on the agenda, Iran’s foreign minister said, emphasizing the importance that Iran attaches to its neighbors.

“This does not mean that we tie our interests to a specific country in the East or the West, rather, we will tie our interests to issues and fields that bear the greatest achievements for us,” he said.

As far as “political independence” is concerned, Iran does neither rely on the East nor the West, neither the US, nor Russia, however, when it comes to national interests and using the capacities that exist, Tehran pursues a “both East and West” policy, the top diplomat hastened to add.

Source » presstv