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Iran says talks with Saudi Arabia to advance from security to political level

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on March 15, 2022 [MAXIM SHEMETOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on March 15, 2022 [MAXIM SHEMETOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Iran's Foreign Minister said Saudi Arabia has expressed its readiness to advance the tension-easing talks between the two estranged neighbours from the security to the political level, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in an interview with Iran's state TV late on Thursday, noting progress in the Baghdad-brokered talks that have been underway since last April.

Iran's top diplomat said they received a message from Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, last week, who said that the Saudis were ready to advance the talks to the "political and public level".

Iran, he added, also expressed its readiness to continue the ongoing talks brokered by the Iraqi Government to the political level to restore their diplomatic ties.

The two Persian Gulf neighbours severed their diplomatic relations in 2016 after protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad over the execution of Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.

After almost five years, the two neighbours, last year, agreed to hold peace talks mediated by Baghdad. While both sides have noted progress in the talks, a significant breakthrough has been eluding.

READ: Iran says last talks with Saudi Arabia 'positive'

Amir-Abdollahian said the two countries have reached some agreements in the five rounds of talks, including on the re-opening of embassies, lending credence to reports already doing rounds.

Pertinently, last week, after the Jeddah summit, Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, said Riyadh has "extended a hand of friendship to Iran." The comments were welcomed by Tehran.

Iran's top diplomat also announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait would be sending their ambassadors to Tehran "in a few days", saying the two countries introduced their envoys, and Tehran agreed with the choices.

His remarks came almost a week after UAE Presidential Adviser, Anwar Gargash, said Abu Dhabi was considering reinstating its ambassador to Iran, seeking enhanced economic ties with the country.

"We are now, indeed, considering sending an ambassador to Iran," Gargash told journalists. "The next decade cannot be like the last decade. It is a decade where 'de-escalation' should be the keyword."

Amir-Abdollahian also informed that Kuwait, which also snapped its diplomatic ties with Iran over the same incident in 2016, will be sending its envoy back to Tehran in the coming days.

In May, Iran's President, Ebrahim Raisi, called for the restoration of Tehran-Kuwait relations to "their true capacities" amid his Government's outreach to Iran's neighbours.

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IranMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUAE
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