Iran's foreign minister says Saudi Arabia has shown readiness to advance the bilateral talks from security issues to the political phase.
In an interview broadcast on state television Thursday evening, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, "Last week we received a message from Iraqi foreign minister [Fuad Hussein] saying that the Saudi side is ready to move the talks from a security phase to a political and public one.”
"We also expressed our readiness to continue talks at the political level so that it leads to the return of Iran-Saudi Arabia ties to the normal level," he added.
Late in June, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi traveled to Iran and met with President Ebrahim Raisi after a visit to Saudi Arabia and meeting with the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at jumpstarting stalled talks between Tehran and Riyadh.
Iran and Saudi Arabia -- which are locked in proxy conflicts around the region -- have held several rounds of talks mediated by 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.
However, it was the Islamic Republic that suspended the talks earlier in April a day after Saudi Arabia announced it had beheaded 81 men, 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.