0238 GMT August 18, 2022
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is expected to arrive in Tehran on an unannounced visit on Sunday, mdeast.news quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Although the Iraqi news website did not provide any further information, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen said Kadhimi is scheduled to visit Iran and Saudi Arabia to discuss the resumption of Baghdad-brokered Tehran-Riyadh normalization talks, according to ISNA.
Quoting its sources, Al Mayadeen added in these visits, the Iraqi prime minister will focus on a number of important issues, including the diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Iran and Saudi Arabia started direct fence-mending talks, of which five rounds have been held, last year, but Tehran announced a temporary halt in March after Saudi Arabia executed 81 men in one day in its biggest mass execution in decades, according to Press TV.
The fifth round of the talks was held in Iraq in April, which was described as “progressive and positive" by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.
In the years that ensued, the kingdom pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, but it has apparently changed tack since 2021.
Both Tehran and Riyadh have hinted that some progress has been made in their recent rounds of negotiations.
The two neighbors, however, remain deeply divided over a set of regional issues, mainly the destructive Saudi-led war on Yemen.
In March, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran welcomes Riyadh’s “new inclination” to fix bilateral relations, stating that rapprochement between the two sides will benefit both nations as well as other friendly states.
He was reacting to comments by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had said earlier that the two countries should find a way to coexist.