Saudi-Iran discussions occurred ‘more than once’ in Iraq, Iraqi president says

Saudi-Iran discussions occurred ‘more than once’ in Iraq, Iraqi president says
Recent discussions between Saudi Arabia and Iran were not the first instance of talks between the two countries in Iraq, Iraqi President Barham Salih has said.
2 min read
05 May, 2021
Iraqi President Barham Salih said Iran and Saudi Arabia held previously unreported discussions [Getty]

Talks between rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia have occurred in Iraq “more than once”, Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Wednesday.

Salih announced this new in reply to a question during a video interview with the Beirut Institute, without providing any further information, according to a Reuters report.

Direct talks between Riyadh and Tehran occurred in Baghdad on 9 April. Until now, no previous discussions were reported.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, who broke off official relations in 2016, have been engaged in a series of proxy conflicts, some of them involving governments and armed groups in the Middle East and North Africa.

Read also: Iran, Israel and Turkey: How regional actors filled the Arab Spring's power vacuum

 Diplomats from the two countries hope that direct communications between the rival Middle Eastern powers will calm regional tensions, Reuters said.

The news comes amid a thaw in tensions between Iran and Western powers.

Iran has recently been participating in the indirect Vienna discussions aiming for a return to a 2015 deal with Western powers on its nuclear programme, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from this agreement in 2018 and levied crippling sanctions on Tehran, adopting a “maximum pressure” policy.

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