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Iran confirms fifth round of talks held with Saudi Arabia

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]

Regional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia, held a fifth round of "positive" talks in Baghdad last Thursday on normalising bilateral relations, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, confirmed on Monday, and Reuters reports.

Predominantly Sunni Muslim, Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, which are locked in proxy conflicts across the Middle East, started direct talks last year to try to contain tensions.

But Iran suspended the talks in March without giving a reason after Saudi Arabia executed 81 men in its biggest mass execution in decades. Tehran condemned the executions that activists said included 41 Shia Muslims.

"The fifth round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Tehran were held in Iraq and the talks were progressive and positive," Khatibzadeh told a televised weekly news conference.

READ: Talks with Saudi Arabia 'positive, constructive'

On Sunday, Iraq's Foreign Minister, Fouad Hussein, said Baghdad would host a new round of talks.

Khatibzadeh said "initial talks were under way between Tehran and Riyadh on sending 40,000 Iranian pilgrims to the Hajj in Makkah" this year.

Riyadh severed ties with Tehran in 2016, after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital following the execution of a Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.

IranMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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