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Baghdad claims to be mediating between Saudi Arabia and Iran

February 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari holds a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq [Murtadha Sudani /Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari said today that his country is ‘still making efforts’ to strengthen relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“Certainly, Iraq can play a role in strengthening relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” Al-Jaafari told Sputnik. “We have a good neighbourly relationship with Syria and Turkey on the one hand, and with Iran and Saudi Arabia on the other.”

“We worked on the rapprochement between them and we are still making efforts, because the relationship Iraq possesses with these countries necessarily calls for us to overcome existing tensions between them.”

This is not the first time an Iraqi official admitted to playing a mediating role between Riyadh and Tehran. Last August Iraq’s Interior Minister, Qasim Al-Araji, said the same thing. Sputnik reported that Saudi Arabia asked Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi to end his country’s row with Iran.

Saudi FM: Iran’s presence in Iraq devastating

Iran responded to the Saudi request through its interior minister, Abdul Raza Rahmani Fadhli, who is reported to have said that Tehran was not seeking to cut ties with Riyadh, noting that Iran’s policy is to have fruitful cooperation in the region.

A Saudi official source however denied reports that the Kingdom had requested Baghdad mediate between Riyadh and the Republic of Iran, stressing that the news circulated regarding this issue was completely unfounded.