Iran ready for more talks with Saudi in atmosphere of respect: Raisi

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan September 17, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said Tehran was ready for more talks with Saudi Arabia if Riyadh was willing to hold the talks in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.

Raisi spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday, according to Iraqi and Iranian media.

“Iran is ready to continue these negotiations until reaching an outcome, provided that the Saudis are willing to continue the negotiations in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect,” Raisi said, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.

Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, which severed diplomatic ties in 2016, launched direct talks hosted by Iraq last year at a time when global powers are trying to salvage a 2015 nuclear pact with Tehran, and as U.N.-led efforts to end a war in Yemen stall, according to Reuters.

Tehran and Riyadh have held four rounds of talks in Iraq, with Baghdad hoping its mediation would stop the neighbors seeking to settle scores on its territory. Saudi Arabia has described the talks as cordial but exploratory, while Tehran says they had gone a “good distance”.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have backed opposing sides in regional conflicts and political disputes in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq for years, and Saudi Arabia has led an Arab coalition waging war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen since 2015.

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