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Iran says further talks with Saudi depend on Riyadh's 'seriousness'

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks about the conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia during a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Tehran, Iran on 5 October 2020. [Fatemeh Bahrami - Anadolu Agency]
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh in Tehran, Iran on 5 October 2020 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

Further talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia depend on the kingdom's "seriousness", Iran's Foreign Ministry has said.

Earlier this year, direct talks began between Tehran and Riyadh in an effort to achieve reconciliation after decades of regional rivalry, with Iraq announcing in August that it had hosted a series of secret dialogues. Jordan also announced that it hosted some of the talks and the United States has expressed its support for the efforts.

Many saw the dialogue as a step towards a possible solution to the tensions caused by Iran and Saudi Arabia's aims to expand their influence in the region through proxy groups. The two countries formally cut ties with one another in 2016.

While those regional tensions were subtly seen in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, they resulted in physical conflict in Yemen where the Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iran-backed Shia Houthi group since 2015.

Iran and Saudi Arabia: Rapprochement under American eyes

Reports also emerged in October that Tehran and Riyadh were planning on reopening their consulates in each other's countries over the following weeks.

Over the months, however, the talks have failed to yield progress, with Iran last month admitting that there was no development in the dialogue. A week ago, Saudi Arabia's envoy to the United Nations also claimed that Iran is biding its time and playing "games" with the kingdom.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh yesterday called on Riyadh to take on "political and diplomatic solutions as well as avoiding interference in the affairs of other countries, because we believe that comprehensive regional arrangements will be achieved through mutual respect and understanding of the facts by the countries of the region." Khatibzadeh added that such an approach "is the only way forward for the region."

READ: The Iran-Saudi Arabia normalisation process

IranIraqLebanonMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaSyriaYemen
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