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Iran wants to boost ties with Lebanon, Saudi: Roknabadi

Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, right, receives Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi in Beirut, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon said Monday that Tehran is seeking to boost ties with Lebanon and its Gulf rival Saudi Arabia.

“I discussed with Siniora ways to boost relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and its neighbors, particularly Persian Gulf countries, at the top of the list the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Ghazanfar Roknabadi told reporters in remarks following talks with former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

“We stressed Iran's interest in enhancing these relations and Iran’s [position] to stand by Lebanon and all Lebanese as well as the need to strengthen cooperation more and more, especially during this period,” he said outside Siniora’s Beirut office.

Roknabadi said he “explained in detail” the latest developments regarding the Iranian nuclear program and a meeting in Geneva next week aimed at reaching an accord in this regard as well as the P5 +1 meeting with Tehran.

The “Iranian-American rapprochement and the latest developments in this regard” were also brought up during the gathering, which according to Roknabadi was part of his regular meetings with Lebanese officials and politicians.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested that a ministerial meeting with the P5+1 countries would likely be necessary following talks in Geneva this week aimed at reaching accord over Tehran's nuclear program.

The Geneva talks on Tuesday and Wednesday are scheduled to take place between Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and his counterparts from the P5+1 group -- the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany.

Roknabadi handed Siniora a “thank you” message from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the state-run National News Agency said.

It said the message also contained Eid Al-Adha holiday greetings.

 

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