Jeddah, Tehran and London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has congratulated new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on winning the Iranian presidential elections, held last Friday.
The king praised recent comments made by Rouhani in which he said was eager to improve relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat last week, the Iranian president-elect said that he intended to improve Saudi–Iranian relations and establish “mutual respect and mutually beneficial arrangements and cooperation to enhance security and restore stability in the region.”
His deputy campaign manager also told Asharq Al-Awsat that relations with Saudi Arabia were Rouhani’s “top priority.”
Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who serves as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, also sent a message congratulating the new president, in which he expressed his wishes for the development and progress of the Iranian people.
In a related development, White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said on Sunday that the election of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president was a “potentially hopeful sign.” He said on CBS News’s Face the Nation program that “if [Rouhani] lives up to his obligations under the UN Security Council resolution to come clean on this illicit nuclear program, he will find a partner in us.”
In Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Iranian leaders, including former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have also congratulated Rouhani on his election win.