Talks with Iran depend on Riyadh's 'seriousness', says Tehran

The two countries held direct discussions this year as global powers attempt to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Tehran was inviting Saudi Arabia to take 'a diplomatic and political approach'. Photo: EPA
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Iran said on Monday that further talks with Saudi Arabia to reduce tensions depend on Riyadh's “seriousness".

Saudi Arabia and Iran began direct talks this year at a time when global powers are trying to salvage a nuclear pact with Tehran, and as UN-led efforts to end the war in Yemen stall.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said: “We call on Riyadh (to take on) political and diplomatic solutions as well as avoiding interference in the affairs of other countries because we believe that comprehensive regional arrangements will be achieved through mutual respect and understanding of the facts by the countries of the region.

“We invite Riyadh (to take) a diplomatic and political approach and respect the principle of non-interference in other countries, which is the only way forward for the region.”

Saudi Arabia, which cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016, has described the talks as cordial but exploratory. An Iranian official in October said they had gone a “good distance".

“There are no new developments in talks with Saudi Arabia and we are still waiting for Riyadh's response,” Mr Khatibzadeh said.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have backed opposing sides in regional conflicts and political disputes in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq for years.

Riyadh has led an Arab coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen since 2015.

Updated: December 20, 2021, 12:23 PM