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Envoy: Iran-Saudi talks 'friendly'; both sides seeking progress

Iran's Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi

Iran's Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi says the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia have yet to mutually agree on the time and location of their next round of negotiations. 

"The time and venue of the fourth round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia have not been decided yet, and we will make a decision on that by mutual agreement," Iraqi news outlets quoted him as saying on a TV program Tuesday. 

Masjedi reiterated that the Islamic Republic wants brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia in political, economic and cultural fields.

Pointing to three rounds of negotiations held between Iranian and Saudi delegations in the Iraqi capital, the envoy said the negotiations are ongoing and the two sides are adamant to continue until progress is made.  

“Despite three rounds of dialog, the talks are still continuing and when we reach definite results, we will announce them,” he said.

Masjedi said, “We held the three rounds of talks in a very friendly and fraternal atmosphere in Baghdad, because we are Muslim countries and all major issues between us have to be resolved through negotiation and consultation."

Masjedi also thanked the Iraqi government for hosting negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh and the "important" role which Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has played in arranging them.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran. 

For years, the kingdom pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward Iran, but an Iranian deputy foreign minister said on Saturday Saudi Arabia appeared to have changed tack and was serious about dialog with the Islamic Republic. 

Alireza Enayati also said the fourth round of negotiations has been postponed to a time convenient to both sides because a new government is still taking office in Iran and Saudi Arabia is hosting pilgrims for the annual Hajj.  

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