Iran
Iran iStock

Iran has decided to temporarily suspend its secret Baghdad-brokered talks aimed at defusing tensions with regional rival Saudi Arabia, The Associated Press reported on Sunday, citing Iranian state-linked media.

The decision comes a day after Saudi Arabia carried out its largest known mass execution in its modern history.

The Iranian news website Nournews, considered close to the country’s Supreme National Security Council, reported the government had unilaterally paused the talks with Saudi Arabia that have been ongoing in Baghdad over the past year and were aimed at restoring diplomatic ties.

Iraq’s foreign minister earlier had said the fifth round of talks between Saudi and Iranian representatives was due to resume on Wednesday.

The report did not give a reason for Iran’s decision, but it comes after Saudi Arabia put to death 81 people convicted of crimes ranging from killings to ties to terrorist groups.

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that all 81 people who had been executed had been "found guilty of committing multiple heinous crimes" and all were linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) group, Al-Qaeda, Yemen's Houthi rebel forces or "other terrorist organizations".

Saudi Arabia regularly announces that it has foiled terrorist attacks and at times executes the suspected terrorists.

Saudi Arabia and Iran held talks last year with the aim of improving relations, for the first time since cutting ties in 2016.

While no breakthrough has yet been reached, Iran's Foreign Minister said in October they are on the right track.

The two countries are vying for influence in a rivalry that has played out across the region in events such as Yemen's war and in Lebanon.