Iran’s ambassador to Iraq Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi. (Tasnim)

August 16, 2021

Talks between the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and Saudi Arabia have been suspended pending decisions by the new government in Tehran, IRI’s ambassador in Iraq, Iraj Masjedi has told Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam TV.

Iran’s former president Hassan Rouhani’s government had evaluated the talks that began between the two arch-rivals in Iraq earlier this year as positive.

Rouhani’s spokesman Ali Rabiei had said in May that special envoys would continue the talks brokered by Iraq. He had also said, “Non-constructive interventions in Yemen and Syria have cause misunderstandings among regional counties.”

IRI’s new president Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) has said that his foreign policy priority is improving relations with regional counties, meaning mainly the Persian Gulf Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia. But the war in Yemen is the main impediment as Tehran supports the Houthi forces fighting against a Saudi-led coalition that has intervened in Yemen’s civil war.

IRI’s delicate relations with Saudi Arabia became tense as Tehran militarily intervened in the Syria civil war to prop up Bashar al Assad. In 2016, relations took a turn for the worse as a Shiite cleric was executed in Saudi Arabia and Iranian hardliner protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, ransacking the mission. Riyadh cut diplomatic ties after the incident.

Iran International

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.