Iraq's prime minister Kadhimi with Iranian president Raisi in Tehran. June 26, 2022

Iraqi Premier Arrives In Tehran On Hopes Of Mediating Talks With Riyadh

Sunday, 06/26/2022

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi arrived in Iran Sunday after a visit to Saudi Arabia aimed at jumpstarting stalled talks between Tehran and Riyadh.

Al-Kadhimi, who headed to Saudi Arabia Saturday evening and met with the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday, was officially welcomed by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

While in Riyadh, Prince Mohammed and Kadhimi addressed "bilateral relations and opportunities for joint cooperation" as they discussed several issues that would contribute to supporting and strengthening regional security and stability," the official Saudi Press Agency reported,

Iran and Saudi Arabia -- which are locked in proxy conflicts around the region -- have held several rounds of talks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad since 2021.

In April, they finally held the much-anticipated fifth round of negotiations, saying that a clear outlook was reached for the resumption of regular talks. Kadhimi said then he believed "reconciliation is near."

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said late in March that improving Tehran-Riyadh relations would benefit all regional countries.

However, it was the Islamic Republic that earlier in the month suspended the talks a day after Saudi Arabia announced it had beheaded 81 men, including seven Yemenis and a Syrian, for “heinous crimes.” Forty-one were Saudi Shiites, Human Rights Watch reported, apparently convicted over protests.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in 2016 when mobs attacked its embassy in Tehran after Riyadh executed 47 dissidents including the leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

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