Progress in Saudi-Iran relations falters over Yemen war

Progress in Saudi-Iran relations falters over Yemen war
2 min read
14 October, 2021
Tehran has reportedly said that stopping Yemen's years-long conflict, in which Saudi Arabia is a major player, depends on Riyadh resuming ties with Iran.
Yemen's governing authorities have for years been fighting the Houthi rebels [Getty-file photo]

Stopping Yemen's years-long conflict is contingent on the Saudis resuming relations with Iran, Tehran has reportedly said.

The Saudis seek an agreement over Yemen as the first stage in a process of restoring relations, broken off five years ago. However, Iran has said it wants ties to be resumed before this happens, sources well informed on the discussions told Bloomberg.

Tehran has suggested swapping consular missions as a goodwill gesture, two of the sources said.

The negotiations, which Iraq helped broker, occurred most recently on 21 September, with more expected to take place soon.

Riyadh has been a key participant as leader of the international coalition supporting the country's recognised authorities against the Houthi insurgents, who are aligned with Iran.

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The fighting between the coalition and the Houthis has seen Saudi Arabia's oil plants targeted. In 2019, the Houthis attacked the Abqaiq processing facility, halving output from the planet's top oil supplying nation.

The Houthi rebels, who control Yemen's capital city and swathes of other territory, see no reason to back down from their strong position and comply with Saudi wishes, diplomats have said.

News of sticking points in the negotiations comes as a Yemeni government minister on Wednesday cautioned that one part of the flashpoint Marib province could face "an imminent humanitarian catastrophe".