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Iran says negotiations with Saudi Arabia will continue until results

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh in Tehran, Iran on October 5, 2020 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh in Tehran, Iran on October 5, 2020 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabii said on Tuesday that "the Iran and Saudi Arabia negotiations will continue until results are reached."

Rabii added: "Our discussions with Saudi Arabia were worthwhile and there are positive signs that the differences between the two countries will be resolved," pointing out that "Tehran and Riyadh discussed bilateral and regional issues during two rounds of negotiations so far."

The government spokesman continued: "The negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia were held at the level of government representatives."

On Monday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh confirmed, for the first time, the existence of talks between the Saudi kingdom and Iran.

Khatibzadeh said in press statements that the talks with Saudi Arabia focused on bilateral and regional issues, noting that "it is not possible to disclose details of the talks to media."

On Friday, Ambassador Raed Karimli, head of Policy Planning at the Saudi foreign ministry, indicated for the first time that his country would hold talks with Iran, saying that the meetings are aimed at exploring ways to reduce tension in the region.

READ: Iran confirms talks with Saudi Arabia

On Wednesday, Iraqi President Barham Salih announced that Baghdad had hosted more than one round of dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran during the past period, to confirm what Western media sources revealed to The New Khalij regarding holding these diplomatic discussions.

A Saudi delegation led by the head of the intelligence services, Khalid bin Ali Al-Humaidan, met with Iranian officials in Baghdad on 9 April.

Saudi Arabia is expected to hold more meetings, according to various sources, including a Western official familiar with the talks.

On Thursday, Agence France-Presse quoted a Saudi official close to the decision-making circle in the Kingdom, as saying that he does not expect a rapid breakthrough in the negotiations that his country is conducting with Iran, which has been competing with Riyadh for years over influence in the Muslim world and the region.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Saudi expectations from the dialogue with Iran are "limited," stressing that the talks would help the Kingdom send a message to the administration of US President Joe Biden that "we are rational and open to dialogue."

The dialogue hosted by Iraq represents the first serious effort to de-escalate the rising tension since the severing of relations between Riyadh and Tehran in 2016 after Saudi diplomatic missions were attacked in Iran due to the execution of a Shia opposition cleric in the Kingdom.

These moves come at a time when Biden is exerting pressure to revive the Iranian nuclear deal concluded in 2015, from which his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew.

The kingdom is taking steps to lower the level of tension on several fronts across the Middle East, including reconciliation with Qatar after a three-year friction.

The on-going tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The on-going tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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