TEHRAN: Iran said on Monday that the latest round of talks with its regional rival Saudi Arabia was “positive and serious” and voiced hope for further progress soon.

Tehran and Riyadh, which severed diplomatic relations in 2016, held four rounds of talks in Iraq between April and September last year, with a fifth meeting last Thursday.

“The fifth round of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Baghdad ... was positive and serious and saw progress,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.

Iran and Saudi Arabia support rival sides in several conflicts, including in Yemen, where Tehran backs the Houthi rebels and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government.

In 2016, Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic after the kingdom executed revered Shia religious scholar Nimr al-Nimr.

Riyadh responded by cutting ties with Tehran.

Iran’s Nour news agency reported the latest talks were attended by senior officials from the secretariat of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the head of the Saudi intelligence service.

It added that the foreign ministers of the two countries were expected to meet in the near future.

Khatibzadeh said that “if the negotiations are upgraded to first-class political level, it can be expected that progress can be made swiftly in different sectors of the talks”.

The spokesman also said an agreement was reached to hold the next round of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but he did not specify a date.

In a separate development, Iran called on Monday for a new meeting as soon as possible in the talks that have been held in Vienna aimed at restoring its frayed 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2022



Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...
Updated 24 May, 2022

Marching in May

MORE unrest. That is the forecast for the weeks ahead as the PTI formally proceeds with its planned march on...
24 May, 2022

Policy rate hike

THE State Bank has raised its policy rate by 150bps to 13.75pc, hoping that its latest monetary-tightening action...
24 May, 2022

Questionable campaign

OVER the past couple of days, a number of cases have been registered in different parts of the country against...