Istanbul hosts historic meeting between Rouhani, King Abdullah
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met in Istanbul, Turkey a first between the heads of the two countries in last 15 years, Tasnim news agency reported May 19.
The two leaders held a short meeting May 18 on the sidelines of an emergency session of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul about the recent developments in the Gaza Strip.
The last similar meeting occurred in 2003, during the King Abdullah’s visit to Tehran, the first visit by a Jordanian monarch to Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, where he held meetings with Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami.
Relations between Amman and Tehran have been tepid for decades, reaching their lowest level during the Iraq-Iran War in the 1980s, although some experts believe that there was a willingness by Jordan to improve ties after the election of Rouhani as Iran’s president in 2013.
When Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in January 2016, Jordan did not sever ties with Iran but recalled its ambassador instead.
Earlier in January, king Abdullah accused Iran of meddling in a number of Arab countries’ affairs including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.
In response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi slammed the Jordanian king’s allegations against Tehran and its regional role, saying such a stance runs counter to the realities on the ground and to the people’s call for peace and security.