Baghdad to host new Iran-Saudi talks soon

Advertisement

Iran and Saudi Arabia have recently held four rounds of negotiations, brokered by Iraq, over resolving the diplomatic impasse between the two countries, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

The fifth round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia will be held in the Iraqi capital Baghdad to normalise bilateral relations, Iraj Masjedi, Tehran’s Ambassador to Iraq, told local media.

Without specifying the exact date of the talks and the details, Masjedi said on Friday that the meeting will be held “soon”, reports Xinhua news agency

Tehran has sent three diplomats to Saudi Arabia, as the Iranian delegation to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to resume their activities in Jeddah after a six-year hiatus.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have recently held four rounds of negotiations, brokered by Iraq, over resolving the diplomatic impasse between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 in protest against the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran following the Saudi execution of a Shia cleric.

Recently, Iran-backed Houthi rebels had carried out attacks with missiles and armed drones on the targets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Iran ian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian

Following this, the Saudi-led Coalition has launched air raids on Yemenis targets hosting Houthi rebels.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition has intervened in the Yemeni war since March 2015, aiming to support the Yemeni government led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi who was forced into exile after the Houthi rebels took over most northern provinces, including the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in 2014.

Tehran’s frozen assets

Meanwhile, South Korea and Iran plan to hold working-level consultations next month in Seoul to discuss ways to untangle yearslong disputes over Tehran’s assets frozen here under US sanctions, a South Korean news agency quoted an informed source saying.

Bilateral relations remain frayed over $7 billion in Iranian funds locked in two Korean banks under US sanctions, which were reimposed after former President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal, Yonhap news agency reported.

The thorny issue has drawn renewed attention, with talks to revive the 2015 accord standing at a critical phase, as Iranian officials demand sanctions relief for an agreement.

South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (2nd from L) meets with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Bagheri Kani, in Vienna on Jan. 6, 2021, to discuss the issue of Tehran’s frozen assets under U.S. sanctions, in this photo provided by Seoul’s foreign ministry.(Yonhap/IANS)

Seoul officials say the proposed working groups are expected to go over details of a potential money transfer once sanctions are lifted and also discuss other aspects in the event of a no deal.

“The working groups are expected to mainly discuss details of the payment method of the Iranian assets if the US grants sanctions relief,” the source told Yonhap News on the condition of anonymity.

“They could talk further on the possibility of resuming oil imports from Iran once sanctions are lifted.”

Iran, which sits on the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves, had been a key oil supplier to resource-poor South Korea and in turn imported industrial equipment, household appliances and vehicle parts from Seoul.

South Korea imported $7.8 billion worth of oil from Iran in 2017, but it has stopped Iranian purchases since 2019 due to US sanctions that ban the Islamic republic’s oil exports, according to the data by the Korea International Trade Association.

ALSO READ: Saudi, Thailand agree to restore full diplomatic relations