Secret Saudi-Iran talks ongoing: Iraqi FM

Secret Saudi-Iran talks ongoing: Iraqi FM
2 min read
29 August, 2021
Iraq Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein has said that talks to restore relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are still ongoing, but gave no indication of their status.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said secret talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia were ongoing [Getty]

Secret talks between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia are ongoing in Baghdad, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.

The Iraqi minister confirmed the continuation of the talks following a regional conference that also took place in Baghdad. 

"What we understand from both sides is that they have a great desire to reach positive results to solve stuck problems between the two countries," Hussein said. 

Secret talks between Tehran and Riyadh began in April and were the first talks held between the two states since relations broke down in 2016. 

The recent regional conference in Baghdad gathered multiple countries, in an effort to create a dialogue between countries and bridge disagreements that exist. 

Among the attendees were Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. French President Emmanuel Macron was also present. 

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It has previously been confirmed that Iran and Saudi Arabia have met secretly on more than one occasion but the status of the talks or whether any progress has be made is not currently known. 

It is believed that the conflict in Yemen is one of the main focuses of the talks.

Currently, Iran is supporting the Houthi rebels, who have taken large parts of the country from the Saudi-back Yemeni government. 

Relations between the two countries were cut in 2016, after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and crowds in Tehran attacked the Saudi embassy. 

Ahead of the recent regional conference, Iran was welcoming the prospect of diplomacy but was doubtful that ties would be restored during the talks. 

"We have always welcomed improving ties with regional countries such as Saudi Arabia, and it is a priority of our President Raisi's foreign policy. Whether this will happen in Iraq next week, I seriously doubt it," a senior Iranian official told Reuters.