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Iran plans new round of talks with Saudi Arabia, envoy says

August 31, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir (second from right) and US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook (second from left) [Twitter]

Iran plans to hold a fourth round of talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia in Iraq after the new Iranian government is set up, the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad was quoted as saying today, Reuters reported.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, leading Shia and Sunni Muslim powers in the Middle East, have been rivals for years, backing allies fighting proxy wars in Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere. They cut diplomatic ties in 2016.

Iran confirmed publicly for the first time in May that it was in talks with Saudi Arabia, saying it would do what it could to resolve issues between them. Since then, it has elected a new president, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, who was sworn in on 5 August.

The announcement of plans for new talks, carried by the semi-official news agency ISNA, came days after a regional summit held in Baghdad to help ease tensions among Iraq’s neighbours.

“We have had three rounds of negotiations with the Saudi side, and the fourth round is to be held after the formation of a new Iranian government,” said Iraj Masjedi, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, according to ISNA.

Iran’s parliament last Wednesday approved all but one of the nominees for a cabinet presented by Raisi.

READ: Iraq says Saudi-Iranian talks ongoing in Baghdad