Iran supports Iraq in developing ties with Arab countries: ambassador

File – Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi speaks to reporters in Basra (AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran supports Iraq in developing its relations with the Arab countries, said the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, as Baghdad works to strengthen ties with the Gulf.

Ambassador Iraj Masjedi said in an interview with Iran’s state news agency IRNA published on Tuesday that Tehran and Baghdad relations had been developing in varies sectors, including culture and economy.

Masjedi affirmed “Iran’s support for Iraq in developing its relations with the Arab countries, especially Baghdad’s mediation to remove tensions between the countries of the region,” IRNA cited him as saying.

“Iran welcomes, supports and encourages any move aimed at developing relations between Iraq and the Arab countries and the neighboring countries,” he told IRNA.

His comments came after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi paid visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates earlier this month.

Kadhimi agreed with Saudi Arabia and the UAE on investment projects in Iraq, worth more than $6 billion.

Financial Times reported on Sunday that senior Saudi and Iranian officials held direct talks in Baghdad on April 9 in a bid to repair relations between the two countries.

On Monday, spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh said Tehran always welcomed dialogue with Saudi Arabia.

“We have seen media reports about talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, although the reports sometimes had contradictory quotes,” Khatibzadeh said in a weekly news conference, according to Reuters.

“What is important is that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always welcomed dialogue with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and considers it in the interest of the people of the two countries, as well as peace and stability in the region,” he added.

Saudi Arabia and Iran severed diplomatic ties in 2016 and have been engaged in several proxy wars in the region as they vie for influence.

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