Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh
Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh
Photo: AFP
Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh

Iran always welcomes dialogue with Riyadh, foreign ministry says

The talks, the first between the regional arch-rivals since 2016, reportedly were held in Iraq in a bid to ease tensions as Washington works to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Tehran and end the Yemeni Civil War

Reuters |
Published: 04.19.21 , 11:52
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday that Tehran always welcomed dialogue with Saudi Arabia, but he did not confirm nor deny direct talks this month between the arch-rivals.
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  • The two countries severed diplomatic ties in 2016 and have been engaged in several proxy wars in the region as they vie for influence.
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    Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh
    Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh
    Spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh
    (Photo: AFP)
    A senior Iranian official and two regional sources had told Reuters that Saudi and Iranian officials held discussions in Iraq in a bid to ease tensions as Washington works to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Tehran and end the Yemen war.
    The Financial Times first reported the meeting."We have seen media reports about talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, although the reports sometimes had contradictory quotes," Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference.
    "What is important is that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always welcomed dialogue with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and considers it in the interest of the people of the two countries, as well as peace and stability in the region," he added.
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     Houthi rebel fighters display their weapons during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Iranian-backed Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen.
     Houthi rebel fighters display their weapons during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Iranian-backed Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen.
    Houthi rebel fighters display their weapons during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Iranian-backed movement, in Sanaa, Yemen
    (Photo: AP)
    Saudi authorities have not responded to a Reuters request for comment on the talks.
    One of the sources said the meeting, arranged by Iraq's prime minister who visited Saudi Arabia earlier this month, had focused on Yemen, where a military coalition led by Riyadh has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
    Sunni power Saudi Arabia had opposed the international nuclear accord with Shi'ite Iran for not tackling Tehran's missile program and regional behavior.
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    An Iranian clergyman looks at domestically built surface to surface missiles displayed by the Revolutionary Guard in a military show marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2019
    An Iranian clergyman looks at domestically built surface to surface missiles displayed by the Revolutionary Guard in a military show marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2019
    An Iranian clergyman looks at domestically built surface-to-surface missiles displayed at the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran
    (Photo: AP)
    It has called for a stronger deal this time around at talks in Vienna aimed at bringing the United States and Iran back into compliance with the pact, which then U.S. President Donald Trump quit in 2018. Tehran breached several nuclear restrictions after Trump reimposed sanctions.
    President Joe Biden's administration is also pressing for a ceasefire in Yemen which is grappling with what the United Nations describes as the world's largest humanitarian crisis.
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