Iraqi official says steps resumed to kick start Tehran-Riyadh talks

An Iraqi foreign ministry official reportedly says the country’s prime ministerial office has resumed its efforts to kick start stalled negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh.

The unnamed official told The New Arab news website that three government officials have been tasked with getting a new timetable for the talks agreed by Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“So far, no timing has been proposed. Iranians are not willing to repeat the [process in the] four past rounds. They want agreements and discussions on specified issues. Iraq’s mission is now conveying the viewpoints of both sides,” the New Arab cited the unnamed official as saying.

“It is too early to respond to the question that whether the result of the moves and negotiations between Saudis and Iranians have been good, or to be optimistic about that, as many sticking points remain.”

The Iraqi official reportedly said that the fifth round was earlier cancelled after Riyadh snubbed Tehran’s demand to halt execution of Shias in the country. The official was referring to the execution of 81 of people including Shias by Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

A fifth round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia was announced by Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in a presser in Turkey’s Antalya. He said the talks will be hosted by Baghdad.

However, the report says, Iran unilaterally exited the talks after the executions by Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday Tehran is ready to set a date for negotiations with Saudis and wants the talks to continue. He added that the discussions with Riyadh need a clear agenda.

Khatibzadeh said Iran conveyed its views to the Saudis in writing, stressing, “We need to normalize our ties because the whole region and the two nations will benefit from normalization of relations.”

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