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Saudi and Iranian officials have held talks to strengthen relations – FT

The Iranian flag is flown in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS / Lisi Niesner

Senior Saudi and Iranian officials held direct talks in a bid to mend ties four years after severing diplomatic ties, the Financial Times reported, citing officials briefed on the discussions.

The first round of Saudi-Iranian talks took place in Baghdad on April 9th ​​and included discussions on attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Yemeni Iranian Houthi group, the FT report added, citing one official.

The talks were positive, the employee told FT.

The FT also said a senior Saudi official had denied talks with Iran. Lebanon’s pro-Iranian television channel Al Mayadeen and the Unews news agency quoted an Iranian source on Sunday as denying talks with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials did not respond immediately to Reuters’ request for comment, and Iranian officials were not immediately available.

The report comes as Washington and Tehran try to renew the 2015 nuclear deal, which Riyadh opposed, and as the United States pushes for an end to the conflict in Yemen, seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Riyadh called for a stronger nuclear deal and said the Arab Gulf states should join any talks on the agreement to ensure that this time they turn to Iran’s missile program and its support for regional proxies. .

Saudi Arabia and its allies have backed former US President Donald Trump’s decision in 2018 to abandon a world power nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions on Tehran, which has responded by violating several restrictions on its nuclear activities.

A Saudi foreign ministry official told Reuters last week that confidence-building measures could pave the way for expanded talks involving the Arabian Gulf. Read more

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