The Cradle
Talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia made ‘remarkable progress’: Iraqi PM
The regional rivals have held five rounds of talks in hopes of rebuilding diplomatic ties
By News Desk - June 08 2022
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(Photo credit: AP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has said that talks between representatives from Tehran and Riyadh have entered advanced stages and have made “remarkable progress.”

At a press conference in Baghdad on 7 June, Kadhimi said Iraq played an integral role in bringing the views of the regional rivals closer by hosting talks between the two nations.

Kadhimi added: “Iraq has hosted five different dialogues in these two years, of which Saudi–Iran talks are just one … Iraq is a central country in the region and it can therefore play a very significant role.”

On 24 May, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faysal Bin Farhan al-Saud said there was “some but not enough” progress in the talks with Iran, although he also referred to the talks as a “new era of cooperation.”

His remarks came after Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh confirmed that Tehran had held a fifth round of “positive” talks with Riyadh in Baghdad.

Tehran and Riyadh severed diplomatic relations in 2016, but in recent months, the two countries have expressed a desire to improve relations.

Ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia were cut after Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, which led to angry protesters attacking the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

The fifth round of talks were held in April, after their suspension a month earlier.

Iran’s decision to suspend the talks was made after Saudi Arabia conducted a mass execution of 81 men, half of whom were members of the Shia community, over what the kingdom called “allegiance to foreign terrorist organizations and … deviant beliefs.”

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been frosty for years over a variety of issues, including the war on Yemen, where Riyadh and its allies have been fighting the Ansarallah resistance movement since March 2015.