Iran says 'ready' for fifth round of talks with Saudi Arabia

Iran says 'ready' for fifth round of talks with Saudi Arabia
The announcement comes after four rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia bore little fruit and focussed mostly on Yemen.
2 min read
26 March, 2022
Foreign Minister Abdollahian made the comments in a televised interview [Getty]

Iran is ready to hold a fifth round of talks with Saudi Arabia, foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said in comments to Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV on Friday.

Ties between Tehran and Riyadh were "not good" according to the minister, who added that his country will "try hard to keep doors of dialogue between the two nations open".

"We don’t believe we are the source of the problems in our relationship. We’ve already had four rounds of talks and we’re ready for a fifth… we extend our hand to all of our Islamic neighbours," said Abdollahian.

Abdollahian's comments came just two weeks after Iran unilaterally suspended talks between the two countries in Baghdad.

He confirmed that Saudi Arabia's execution of 81 prisoners, half of which were Shias, was a factor in Iran's decision to halt negotiations. 

Activists said that 41 were Shia Muslims from the eastern Qatif region, which has historically been a flashpoint between the Sunni-dominated government and minority Shias, were among those executed in one day earlier this month in Saudi Arabia.

Both sides have complained that little progress has been made in the direct talks, which have focused largely on Yemen.

Houthi authorities said this month that two Yemeni "prisoners of war" were among those executed by Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have backed opposing sides in regional conflicts, including those in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia has led an Arab coalition waging war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen since 2015. Both the coalition and the Houthis have been accused of grave violations by rights organisations.