Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in January 2016 following angry protests outside its embassy over Riyadh’s execution of prominent cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. The country has followed a hostile policy which intensified in line with former US President Donald Trump's so-called "maximum pressure" policy on Tehran.
In an interview with Al Arabiya TV channel, however, the Saudi minister alleged that Tehran is “not serious about talks with Riyadh."
“Our hands are outstretched for peace with Iran, but it does not commit itself to agreements,” he said.
The remarks came two days after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed his Qatari counterpart’s call for the Gulf Arab countries to hold talks with the Islamic Republic, saying Tehran has long demanded neighborly cooperation towards establishing a strong Middle East.
Tehran has on many occasions announced its readiness to hold talks with its neighbors directly. It has already put forward an initiative called the Hormuz Peace Endeavor [HOPE] to promote security in the Gulf and facilitate such neighborly negotiations.
Prince Faisal claimed that Iran's "calls for dialogue are meant to divert attention away from its own crises."
Riyadh acted as one of the main forces behind Washington's 2018 withdrawal from the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Tehran, after which the US returned its draconian sanctions against Tehran.