Iran: Talks with Saudi Arabia continue in a 'good atmosphere'

The talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Baghdad remained secret until several weeks ago.

Elad Benari ,

Iran, Saudi Arabia
Iran, Saudi Arabia

Iran's foreign ministry said on Monday that the Islamic Republic is continuing talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia in a "good atmosphere," AFP reports.

"Talks are still continuing in a good atmosphere," ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted as having said at a press conference.

"We hope these talks can achieve a common understanding between Iran and Saudi Arabia," he added.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals which back opposing sides in the wars in Yemen, where Iran backs the Houthi rebels and in Syria, where the Iranian regime supports President Bashar Al-Assad while the Saudis back the rebels trying to oust him.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom's neighbors.

Iran has fired back, accusing Saudi Arabia of trying to “drag the entire region into confrontation”.

The talks between the two regional rivals in Baghdad, facilitated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, remained secret until the Financial Times reported that a first meeting was held on April 9.

Khatibzadeh confirmed the talks on May 10, saying their purpose was "both bilateral and regional", but stressed it was "too soon" to disclose any details.

"De-escalation and (establishing) ties between two great Islamic countries in the Persian Gulf region is to the benefit of both nations," he said at the time.