Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh spoke at a weekly press conference on Monday. Speaking upon a question regarding the latest speculations that the Saudi and Iranian officials held direct talks in Baghdad, Khatibzadeh stated that Iran is aware of the latest reports over the issue, and even though these reports carry “contradictory quotes,” any contact with Saudi Arabia is a good thing for both countries’ people.
“What is important is that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always welcomed dialogue with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and considers it in the interest of the people of the two countries, as well as peace and stability in the region,” the spokesperson said. Yet, Khatibzadeh did not confirm nor deny the alleged talks which are believed to be held between the two rivals earlier this month.
Recently, there have been some reports claiming that officials from Saudi Arabia and Iran came together and held secret talks in Iraq. The reports stated that the talks, aiming to reduce tension between the two regional rivals, are mediated by the Iraqi government. Among these reports, one claimed that such a meeting was held ten days ago in the Green Zone in Baghdad with the supervision of Iraqi security adviser Qasim Al-Araji.
Such reports came amid the negotiations aiming to revive the 2015 nuclear talks ongoing in Vienna. It is known that Iran and Saudi Arabia are also on opposite sides in the Yemeni civil war. The diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 2016 after the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was attacked following the execution of Shia cleric Nimr Al Nimr by Saudi authorities.