World, Middle East

Iraq says it hosted more than 1 round of secret Saudi-Iranian talks

Iraqi prime minister reveals that 2 countries have conducted direct secret talks since they severed relations in 2016

Ibrahim Saleh   | 05.05.2021
Iraq says it hosted more than 1 round of secret Saudi-Iranian talks

BAGHDAD

Iraqi President Barham Salih on Wednesday announced that his country has recently hosted more than one round of dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In an online interview with the think tank Beirut Institute, Salih said Iraq hosted more than one round of dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

He did not give any details about the date or content of those talks while Riyadh and Tehran are yet to comment on the remarks.

"Iran is our neighbor and we want to integrate it into the regional framework, but we are also keen on our sovereignty. We do not want Iraq to turn into an arena of conflict," the Iraqi president said.

Usually, Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of having an expansionist "Shia agenda" in the region and interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries, including Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria, which Tehran denies by saying it is committed to good neighborly relations.

Media reports said earlier Baghdad recently hosted secret talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, under the auspices of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

This is the first time an official reveals that direct talks have been held between Saudi Arabia and Iran since they severed relations in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy and Consulate in Iran, denouncing Riyadh’s execution of the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr on charges of terrorism.

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