Saudi-Iran talks to resume when conditions right in Iraq, says Iranian envoy

Riyadh and Tehran, the leading Sunni Muslim and Shi'ite powers in the region respectively, have been locked in a decades long rivalry.

 Kuwait's new Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah gestures as he takes the oath of office at the parliament, in Kuwait City, Kuwait September 30, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/STEPHANIE MCGEHEE/FILE PHOTO)
Kuwait's new Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah gestures as he takes the oath of office at the parliament, in Kuwait City, Kuwait September 30, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/STEPHANIE MCGEHEE/FILE PHOTO)

A delayed sixth round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Baghdad will take place when the conditions are right in Iraq, Iran's ambassador to Kuwait said in published remarks confirmed by his embassy on Wednesday.

Riyadh and Tehran, the leading Sunni Muslim and Shi'ite powers in the region respectively, have been locked in a decades long rivalry. Last year, they launched direct talks in a bid to improve relations.

Baghdad has hosted five rounds of talks so far, the last in April.

"There is agreement on resuming discussions with a sixth round ... but we must wait for an Iraqi invitation after the current events in Iraq."

Iran's envoy in Kuwait, Mohammad Irani,

Iran's envoy in Kuwait, Mohammad Irani, told Al Rai newspaper a new round was scheduled last month but was delayed due to the "latest developments in Iraq", which is facing a political crisis that has prevented the formation of a government.

SAUDI ARABIA’S envoy and other Gulf states gather in Kuwait in 2017. (credit: REUTERS)SAUDI ARABIA’S envoy and other Gulf states gather in Kuwait in 2017. (credit: REUTERS)

"There is agreement on resuming discussions with a sixth round ... but we must wait for an Iraqi invitation after the current events in Iraq," Irani said.

Relations with Saudi Arabia

He said the talks would aim to reach agreement for a direct meeting between the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Saudi Arabia, which severed ties with Iran in 2016, launched the direct talks last year as global powers' worked to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran.

Riyadh and its Gulf allies have pressed for any deal to address their security concerns regarding Iran's ballistic missiles program and network of regional proxies.