DUBAI, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Iran is planning a fourth round of talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia in Iraq after the formation of the new Iranian government, the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad said Tuesday.
Iran and Saudi Arabia, leading Shiite and Sunni powers in the Middle East, have been rivals and supporters of allies waging proxy wars in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere for years. You broke off diplomatic relations in 2016.
Iran publicly confirmed for the first time in May that it was in talks with Saudi Arabia and said it would do everything possible to resolve the problems between them. She has since elected a new president, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, who was sworn in on August 5th.
The announcement of plans for new talks by the semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA came days after a regional summit in Baghdad to reduce tensions between Iraqi neighbors. Continue reading
“We had three rounds of negotiations with the Saudi side, the fourth should take place after the formation of a new Iranian government,” said Iraj Masjedi, Iranian ambassador to Iraq, according to ISNA.
The Iranian parliament last Wednesday approved all but one of the candidates for a hard-line cabinet presented by Raisi. Continue reading
Separately, the Iranian foreign minister said he had discussed ways to improve relations at a meeting with the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on the sidelines of the Baghdad summit.
“In this conversation we talked about the positive intentions and the will of the heads of state and government in both countries to strengthen relations … Cooperation with neighbors is a priority for the (new Iranian) government,” said Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian Twitter.
Tensions in Iran’s relations with the UAE increased after the US-allied Arab Gulf state agreed last year to normalize relations with Tehran’s archenemy Israel.
Reporting by Dubai Newsroom Editing by Peter Graff and Alistair Bell
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.