Iran says that Iran has always welcomed talks with Saudi Arabia. Spokesman responded to the Media reports that had said Iran has held secret talks with Saudi Arab.
Media recently reported that two countries recently held secret talks in Baghdad. Iran’s foreign ministry said the country is open to direct talks with Saudi Arabia. However, Iranhas refused to say whether it held secret talks with Saudi Arabia. Although, Iran has confirmed that it is open to talks with its regional adversary.
On Monday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, refused to confirm or deny alleged talks on April 9 in Baghdad. However, Spokesman said media outlets had used “contradictory quotes”. Additionally, he mentioned that media had a history of fabricating news, referring to reports by Financial Times and Reuters.
Khatibzadeh, on the other hand, said that Iran “has always accepted talks with the Saudi kingdom and has viewed them as beneficial to the citizens of the two countries as well as regional peace and stability, and this thinking will continue.”
Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran’s storming in January 2006, caused both countries’ relations to fall out. The storming of the embassy happened after Riyadh executed a prominent Shia Muslim leader.
According to FT and Reuters, Iranian and Saudi officials met on April 9. Both countries discussed the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led military alliance has been fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since March 2015.
Media reports say that Lebanon was also a part of the talks. Lebanon is in midst of political and economic instability. Arab states have concerns over the strength of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.
However, Iran and Saudi Arabia denied holding talks in Iraq, according to unnamed sources.
Meeting is said to have taken place soon after Iraqi PM travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince. Al-Kadhimi also paid a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), another regional Iranian foe.
Iraq holds strong relations with Iran, and many high-level political delegations have visited Tehran in recent months to discuss the area.
Moreover, the media reports of direct talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia come as Iran and world powers are negotiating in Vienna for weeks to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the country’s landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.
Iran has accused Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of attempting to sabotage the talks, which, if successful, would result in the lifting of harsh US sanctions against the country.
The GCC states have expressed a desire to participate in the talks and have called for the JCPOA to be expanded in order to curtail Iran’s missile programme and growing regional power.