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Iranian envoy in Iraq: Next round of Tehran-Riyadh talks to bring ‘positive results’

Tabletop miniature flags for Iran and Saudi Arabia. The kingdom severed diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016. (Getty Images)

Bilateral talks between Tehran and Riyadh to revive diplomatic ties, brokered by Iraq, have been temporarily suspended due to the transition of power in Iran, according to the country’s envoy in Baghdad.

Iraj Masjedi, talking to reporters on Sunday, expressed hope that the talks on issues including the re-opening of diplomatic missions by the two countries would bring “positive results”.

“Several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia were held in Iraq, and these talks have been temporarily halted due to the change in government administration (in Tehran),” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Masjedi’s remarks come against the backdrop of reports that Iraq is preparing the ground for the next round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of an upcoming regional summit in Baghdad.

Top officials from Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey and several other Middle Eastern countries are slated to meet at the summit hosted by the Iraqi government later this month.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein was in Tehran last week to formally invite President Ebrahim Raeisi to the summit, which will be his first foreign visit since assuming office earlier this month.

In other remarks, Masjedi said the regional countries must take up the responsibility of ensuring regional security after the US forces pull out of the Arab country.

The seasoned Iranian diplomat hastened to add that Iran rejects any American presence in the region, particularly in Iraq.

He also denounced attacks on foreign diplomatic missions in Iraq, which he said only provide a justification for a continued foreign military presence in the country.

Iran’s ambassador to Iraq also made it clear that Tehran will not be throwing its weight behind any candidate or political party in the upcoming parliamentary polls, stressing that Iran has “extensive relations” with political leaders and parties of all shades in Iraq.

He described the presence of top Iraqi political figures in the swearing-in ceremony of President Raeisi as an “example of this extensive relationship”.

“Political relations between Iran and Iraqi figures are very natural,” Masjedi emphasized. “But it does not mean that Iran supports some individuals or parties (in Iraq),” terming such reports as “slander”.

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