FT: mediated by PM al-Kadhimi, Iran and KSA held talks in Baghdad this month


Shafaq News/ Senior Saudi and Iranian officials have been holding direct talks in a bid to repair relations between the two regional rivals, five years after they cut off diplomatic ties, the Financial times quoted officials briefed on the discussions.

According to FT, negotiations, which took place in Baghdad this month, are thought to be the first significant political discussions between the two nations since 2016 and come as Joe Biden seeks to revive the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers in 2015 and de-escalate regional tension.

Saudi Arabia is keen to end its war in Yemen against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels, who have stepped up their attacks against Saudi cities and oil infrastructure. The Houthis have launched dozens of missiles and explosive-laden drones into the kingdom this year.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also taken steps that appear to lean towards gaining favour with the Biden administration, which has pledged to reassess relations with the kingdom and end the six-year war in Yemen.

The first round of Saudi-Iranian talks took place in Baghdad on April 9. They included discussions about the Houthi attacks and were positive, one of the officials said.

The official said the Saudi delegation was led by Khalid bin Ali al-Humaidan, the intelligence chief, adding that another round of talks had been scheduled for next week.

The process is being facilitated by Iraqi prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who held talks with Prince Mohammed in Riyadh last month.

“It’s moving faster because the US talks [related to the nuclear deal] are moving faster and [because of] the Houthi attacks,” the official told FT.

A senior Saudi official denied that any talks with Iran had taken place. The Iraqi and Iranian governments did not comment.

Shafaq Live
Shafaq Live