Talks between the two regional rivals have gone a "good distance", says Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Iran’s foreign minister has said he discussed with officials in Beirut the “positive” effects of ongoing talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and blamed foreign troops based in the Middle East for regional instability.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is on his first visit to Lebanon since taking his post after Iran’s presidential elections this summer.
He said nuclear talks to revive Tehran’s now-tattered 2015 accord with world powers, stalled since June, will resume soon.
“We have positively evaluated the continuation of Iranian-Saudi negotiations,” Amir-Abdollahian told reporters after meeting Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, referring to multiple rounds of discussions in Baghdad since the first direct talks between regional foes Riyadh and Tehran took place in early April.
READ MORE: Saudi-Iranian diplomacy has begun to intensify. What does it signify?
Iran, Saudi Arabia relations
The latest round was held late last month, according to Iraqi officials, marking the first such meeting between the two sides since a new president was sworn in in Tehran.
Those at the meeting discussed “pending issues between the two countries according to a previously agreed on roadmap, including diplomatic representation between the two countries,” according to one Iraqi official.
An improvement of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is likely to have positive effects in Lebanon, a small nation that has often served as a proxy battlefield for tensions between the two regional powers.
Iran enjoys wide influence in Lebanon through the powerful Hezbollah group that is supported by Tehran.
Lebanon is deeply divided between a coalition backed by the West and Gulf Arab countries, and another group supported by Iran and led by Hezbollah.
In an apparent reference to US forces deployed in the region, Amir-Abdollahian said: “We consider the presence of foreign forces in the region as the main factor for instability and all problems.”
READ MORE: How Saudi Arabia surrendered its influence in the Middle East