Talks raise hope for a meeting of Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers

Iran, S. Arabia hold fifth round of talks in ‘positive atmosphere’

April 23, 2022 - 21:13

TEHRAN — The fifth round of talks between Tehran and Riyadh have been held in Baghdad, Nour News, a media outlet close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has reported.

In a tweet posted on Saturday, Nour news said, “The fifth round of talks between the high representatives of #Iran and #SaudiArabia was held in Baghdad. The positive atmosphere of the recent meeting has raised hopes for the two countries to take a step towards resumption of relations.”

It continued, “It is expected that a joint meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries will be held in the near future.”

This is the first time that a media outlet close to Iran’s SNSC labels the atmosphere of Tehran-Riyadh talks as “positive.”

According to the photo released by Nour news, Saeed Iravani, Deputy Secretary for the SNSC, and Khalid bin Ali Al Humaidan, Saudi Arabia’s Director General of General Intelligence Directorate were the top officials conducting the talks.

Meanwhile, a well-informed diplomatic source confirmed the report while speaking to Russia's Sputnik news agency.

The source confirmed that the fifth round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Baghdad on Thursday was held in a very positive atmosphere. 

In response to a question about the cases raised in the meeting, the source said, “The two delegations talked about most of the cases in the region, as well as the case of bilateral relations and security in the Persian Gulf region.”

The fifth round of Iran-Saudi talks was scheduled to take place in March, but was delayed following Saudi Arabia's mass execution of 81 citizens, about half of them Shias.

During a visit to Tehran last week, in response to a question about the fifth round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein stressed, “These talks have continued and have been suspended for a while. We hope that the next round of these talks will be held between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is clear that the talks so far have been within the framework of the security offices of the two sides, and from the Iranian side there have been representatives from the foreign ministry, but the framework of the talks has been determined by the security offices. There are some issues that need to be addressed. I hope the next meeting will be held soon.”

Hussein said that there has been speculation about the time of the meeting, but he cannot explicitly talk about the time of the next meeting, “but the parties are willing to continue their meetings.” 

In this regard, Qasim al-Araji, Iraq's national security adviser, had expressed hope that the fifth round of the Iran-Saudi talks in Baghdad would lead to the reopening of the Iranian-Saudi embassies.

Iraqi President Barham Salih first announced in May 2021 that Iraq had announced talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and that four rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia had been hosted by Baghdad.