Baghdad to host new round of Iran-Saudi talks soon: ambassador

January 7, 2022 - 23:4

TEHRAN – Iraj Masjedi, Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad, has said Iraq will soon host the fifth round of talks between Tehran and Riyadh, Tasnim reported on Thursday.

Baghdad has so far hosted four rounds of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Calling Iran and Saudi Arabia as two countries with great potential, the ambassador said regional countries can resolve issues among themselves without paying attention to U.S. diktats.

Back in October, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to advance their negotiations with the focus on bilateral and regional issues.

He said the talks between Tehran and Riyadh are in progress uninterruptedly, but the two sides have decided not to advance the negotiations publicly.

“We have held four rounds of talks with Riyadh in Baghdad. The last round was held at the time when we were in New York (for the UNGA). These contacts are now in progress uninterruptedly,” the spokesman said.

Khatibzadeh noted that the talks between the Iranian and Saudi delegations are focused on bilateral and regional issues, especially the Persian Gulf affairs.

Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh soured following the January 2016 execution of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy.

Riyadh cut ties with Tehran afterwards, responding to attacks by angry protesters on its embassy in the Iranian capital. 

All senior officials in Tehran, including Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condemned the attack on the Saudi embassy. Yet, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Tehran and expelled the Iranian ambassador from Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Yemen as well as the death of hundreds of Iranian Hajj pilgrims in a deadly crush in Saudi Arabia’s Mina in September 2015 had prepared the ground for the deterioration of tensions between Tehran and Riyadh.

Iran has been a vocal critic of the Saudi-led attack on Yemen. In April 2015, then Iran’s foreign minister submitted a letter to UN secretary-general outlining a four-point peace plan for Yemen. The letter was submitted three weeks after the Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen.

The plan called for an immediate ceasefire and end of all foreign military attacks, humanitarian assistance, a resumption of broad national dialogue and “establishment of an inclusive national unity government.”

Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has said Iran welcomes dialogue with Persian Gulf Arab states, suggesting that Iran and these countries, including Saudi Arabia, can even establish cooperation in areas of security and defense.

“We can have close political, economic, cultural and even security and defense cooperation with each other,” Qalibaf said in an interview with al-Manar TV on the second anniversary of the assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“We have seen and will see no limit in having contacts and negotiations with Muslim and neighboring countries, whether Arab or non-Arab, and even we have not set any preconditions for negotiations with Saudi Arabia,” Qalibaf pointed out.


 

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