Iraqi PM in Iran after Saudi visit to push for revival of Tehran-Riyadh talks

Dubai (Reuters) – Iran and Iraq have agreed to seek stability in the Middle East, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in Tehran on Sunday, a day after he visited Saudi Arabia in a bid to revive talks between the regional powers to ease years of hostility.

“We have agreed to work together to bring stability and calm to the region,” Kadhimi said in a joint televised news conference with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi.

An Iranian official told Reuters earlier on Sunday that “the resumption of talks between Tehran and Riyadh will be discussed during Kadhimi’s trip to Iran”.

“Dialogue with regional officials can resolve the regional issues,” Raisi said, without elaborating.

The fifth round of talks between the regional powers were held in April, after Iran suspended the negotiations in March without giving a reason but the decision was made following Saudi Arabia’s execution of 81 criminals in its biggest mass execution in decades.

On Saturday, Kadhimi held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah that the state news agency SPA said included bilateral relations and “boosting security and stability in the region”.

Kadhimi’s visit comes as a months-long impasse in the indirect talks between Tehran and Washington is expected to break in the coming days to secure a 2015 nuclear pact which curbed Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. 

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to visit Riyadh in mid-July and talks are expected to include Gulf security concerns over Iran’s ballistic missiles programme and network of proxies across the Middle East.