The New York Times quoted several well-informed sources that confirm Saudi Arabia and Iran had agreed to continue their talks in Baghdad in May. The Kingdom says it would “seize any opportunity” to promote peace.
The New York Times published a report on Saturday where two Iranian and other Iraqi officials confirmed talks attended by the Director of Saudi Intelligence, Khaled Al-Humaidan, and the Deputy Secretary of the Supreme Security Council of Iran, Saeed Arafani. The officials said the two sides agreed to continue the talks in Baghdad during May.
The newspaper also reported that the Saudi government sent them a comment on the matter, stating that the Kingdom “will take any opportunity to contribute to the promotion of peace and stability in the region”, provided Iran shows “goodwill.”
The tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran is due to many sharp differences, especially regarding the war in Yemen and the 2 January 2016 attacks. They happened at the Riyadh embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad after the Kingdom’s authorities carried out the death sentence against 47 people in terrorism cases, including the prominent Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr.
There have been no formal diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh since 2016, but there has been an exchange of messages about their desire to settle differences in recent weeks.
The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed in an interview broadcast on 27 April that the Kingdom aspires to establish a good relationship with Iran, but there are “problems” between the two parties; Saudi Arabia is working with partners to solve it.
“Our problem is Iran’s negative behaviour, whether through its nuclear program or its support for outlaw militias in some countries in the region or its ballistic missile program,” Mohammed bin Salman said.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh commented on bin Salman’s statements saying that Iran welcomes the Kingdom’s change of tone.