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Rafsanjani offers road map for Iran-Saudi ties

Iran's former president may be the decisive broker in Iran-Saudi relations.
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.

Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani attends Iran's Assembly of Experts' biannual meeting in Tehran March 8, 2011. Rafsanjani lost his position on Tuesday as head of an important state clerical body after hardliners criticised him for being too close to the reformist opposition.   REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2JLGP

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Amid months of tensions, bombings and skirmishes, Beirut looks calm and safe. Only the presidential elections interest journalists, even though the subject isn't that hot. Only a few days are left before outgoing President Michel Suleiman is to leave Baabda Palace.

Suddenly, tourists have started pouring to the Lebanese capital, and soon gulf nationals will fill the country's hotels as reports indicate that both the Saudi and the UAE governments are considering lifting their bans on travel to Lebanon. Some might question the reason behind the rapid improvement, but whenever Tehran and Riyadh are talking, Beirut will have to quietly listen.

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