Iran says further talks with Saudi Arabia depend on Riyadh’s ‘seriousness’

File – Flags of Saudi Arabia and Iran

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran said on Monday further talks with Saudi Arabia aimed at reducing tensions between the two countries depend on Riyadh’s “seriousness”.

“We call on Riyadh [to take on] political and diplomatic solutions as well as avoid interference in the affairs of other countries, because we believe that comprehensive regional arrangements will be achieved through mutual respect and understanding of the facts by the countries of the region,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia and Iran launched direct talks this year at a time when global powers are trying to salvage a nuclear pact with Tehran, and as U.N.-led efforts to end war in Yemen stall.

Saudi Arabia, which cut ties with Iran in 2016, has described the talks as cordial but exploratory, while an Iranian official in October said they had gone a “good distance”.

“There are still no new developments in talks with Saudi Arabia and we are still waiting for Riyadh’s response,” the Iranian spokesman said.

Last week, Saudi envoy to the United Nations Abdallah al-Mouallimi said no major results had been achieved in the talks.

“We would like to push these discussions towards substantive issues that involve the behavior of the Iranian government in the region,” Mouallimi said in an interview with Saudi Arabi newspaper Arab News.

“But as long as the Iranians continue to play games with these talks, they are not going to go anywhere,” he added.

“The Iranians take a long-term attitude towards these talks. We are not interested in talks for the sake of talks.”

Tensions between the two foes spiked in 2019 after an assault on Saudi oil plants that Riyadh blamed on Iran, a charge Tehran denies, and continue to simmer over Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition is battling the Iran-aligned Houthi group.

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