Apr 19, 2021 12:32 UTC
  • Iran welcomes talks with Saudis: Spokesman

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Sa'eed Khatibzadeh said Tehran would welcome negotiations with Riyadh.

According to Tasnim news agency, asked about recent reports of direct talks between Iranian and Saudi officials in Baghdad, Khatibzadeh said at a press conference on Monday that he would not make any comment on “contradictory media reports”.

But he emphasized that Iran would welcome negotiations with Saudi Arabia.

“This would be in the interests of people of the two countries and regional peace and stability,” the spokesman added.

His comments came after the Financial Times quoted officials as saying that senior Saudi and Iranian officials have held direct talks in Iraq in a bid to repair relations between the two countries.

Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh soured following the January 2016 execution of Shia Cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy, in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh cut ties with Tehran afterwards, responding to attacks by angry protesters on its embassy in the Iranian capital.

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

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