Iran Says Fourth Round Of Saudi Talks Likely After New Government Formed
By RFE/RL September 01, 2021
Tehran is planning to hold a new round of talks with Saudi Arabia in Iraq after the new Iranian government is formed, state media reports.
"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," Iraj Masjedi, Tehran's ambassador to Baghdad, was quoted by semiofficial Iranian news agency ISNA as saying.
Shi'ite-led Iran and Sunni-controlled Saudi Arabia are bitter rivals in the struggle for influence in the Middle East and support allies in proxy wars in Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere.
The two Muslim-majority nations cut diplomatic relations in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions following the Riyadh's execution of a revered Shi'ite cleric.
Earlier this year, media reports revealed that Iranian and Saudi officials had met in Baghdad in April, their first high-level meeting since diplomatic ties were broken.
Iran confirmed the talks and said it would do what it could to resolve contentious issues.
Iran later elected a new president, hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, who was sworn in on August 5.
Last week, Iran's parliament approved nearly all of Raisi's nominees for a cabinet filled with fellow hard-liners.
Iran's announcement of a planned talks came days after a regional summit held in Baghdad to help ease tensions among Iraq's neighbors.
Meanwhile, Saudi officials said at least eight people were wounded on August 30 in drone strikes by Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen on Saudi Arabia's Abha Airport.
The United States said it "strongly condemns" the "Huthi attack against Saudi Arabia."
"Since the beginning of the year, Saudi Arabia has endured more than 240 attacks from the Huthis, who have endangered the Saudi people alongside more than 70,000 U.S. citizens residing in Saudi Arabia," Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement.
Yemen's internationally recognized government and the Huthis have been locked in war since 2014, when the insurgents seized the capital Sana'a.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, supporting forces of the ousted government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fighting the Huthis.
The conflict has killed more than 130,000 people and created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
With on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Radio Farda
Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-saudi -iraq-masjedi/31437918.html
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|