Iran ‘temporarily suspends’ direct talks with Saudi Arabia | News


Riyadh and Tehran have previously said they hope the talks could ease tensions, but played down expectations of breakthroughs.

Tehran, Iran – Iran has “temporarily suspended” direct talks with Saudi Arabia, according to a media outlet linked to the country’s main security body.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein announced at a diplomatic forum in Turkey’s Antalya on Saturday that a fifth round of talks between the two regional rivals would be held in Baghdad on Wednesday.

But Nournews, an affiliate of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), which has taken a stance on talks with the kingdom, said on Sunday that Iran had unilaterally suspended talks without citing a reason.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry had previously said on several occasions that the country was ready to resume talks soon.

Riyadh and Tehran said they hoped the talks could ease tensions, but played down expectations of a meaningful breakthrough.

The two countries severed diplomatic ties in 2016 when Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran was stormed by protesters following the execution of a prominent Shia religious leader by the Sunni-majority kingdom.

Riyadh backed then-US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign for tough sanctions on Iran after its unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. He also blamed Iran for a major attack on its oil facilities in 2019, an allegation denied by Tehran.

The two countries are also at odds in the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement since 2014.

But the first round of secret talks, held in the Iraqi capital in April 2020, signaled a potential thaw. The talks were officially confirmed a few months later.

The talks came as Iran and world powers sat down again in Vienna in a bid to reinstate the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). After more than 11 months, negotiations in the Austrian capital are now close to the finish line.

Earlier this year, Iran said three of its diplomats had been accepted into Saudi Arabia after several years to re-establish a representative office at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah.


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