News ID: 302945
Published: 0214 GMT May 10, 2021

Iran: Talks with Saudi Arabia focus on bilateral, regional issues

Iran: Talks with Saudi Arabia focus on bilateral, regional issues

Iran on Monday confirmed that it is holding talks with Saudi Arabia, saying negotiations centered on bilateral and regional issues.

"The purpose of the talks was both bilateral and regional," Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.

"But let us wait and see the results of these talks ... it might still be too soon to talk about the details of the negotiations," Khatibzadeh added, noting that Iran has "always welcomed such talks at any level and in any shape".

Iran was waiting for the outcome of the talks, he said: "We welcome resolving of the issues that have existed between the two countries ... We will use our best efforts in this regard."

"De-escalation and [establishing] ties between two great Islamic countries in the Persian Gulf region is to the benefit of both nations," Khatibzadeh said.

Media reports, later confirmed by diplomatic and Iraqi government sources, revealed that Iranian and Saudi officials met in Baghdad in April, their first high-level meeting since Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016, AFP wrote.

Riyadh cut its ties with Tehran in 2016 after protestors stormed Saudi diplomatic missions following the kingdom's execution of a revered Shia cleric.

The talks in Baghdad, facilitated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, remained secret until the Financial Times reported that a first meeting was held on April 9.

Iraq's President Barham Salih said on Wednesday that Baghdad hosted more than one round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A Saudi Foreign Ministry official said last week that the talks were aimed at reducing regional tensions.

"As to current Saudi-Iranian talks they aim to explore ways to reduce tensions in the region," Ambassador Rayed Krimly, the head of policy planning at the ministry, told Reuters.

"We hope they prove successful, but it is too early, and premature, to reach any definitive conclusions. Our evaluation will be based on verifiable deeds, and not proclamations."

Krimly said Saudi policy had been explained "very clearly" by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who last month said that he sought "good" relations with Iran.

"Iran is a neighboring country, and all we aspire for is a good and special relationship with Iran," the crown prince said in a television interview broadcast.

"We do not want Iran's situation to be difficult. On the contrary, we want Iran to grow... and to push the region and the world toward prosperity."

Iran on April 29 welcomed a "change of tone" from Prince Mohammed.


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