Saudi-Iranian talks stop after changes in Iraqi gov't: Source
The Amwaj news website reports that with the end of Mustafa Kadhimi’s premiership in Iraq, Saudi Arabia has informed Tehran through special channels that the dialogue between the two countries has stopped.
The 6-month negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic ties have been suspended by the latter, due to the change of government in mediator-country Iraq, the Amwaj news website reported on Wednesday, citing an Arab negotiator.
With the end of Mustafa Kadhimi’s premiership in Iraq, Saudi Arabia has informed Tehran through special channels that the dialogue stopped, as he was the chief mediator of Saudi-Iranian reconciliation talks, and other Iraqi authorities were rarely or not involved at all, the source was cited as saying.
On October 28, Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani replaced Kadhimi as prime minister, and the Iraqi mediation between Tehran and Riyadh, as well as other regional countries, stopped, the source said, adding that it is "not impossible" that Saudi-Iranian talks resume.
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein told Sputnik on September 27 that Saudi Arabia and Iran could continue negotiations in Baghdad to normalize broken bilateral ties and resolve differences on the intelligence service level. According to the minister, the two countries had already agreed on many issues and could start talking at the level of foreign ministers.
It is noteworthy that diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia grew strained following the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr in January 2016. Sheikh Al-Nimr was a vocal critic of the Saudi government. The Sheikh raised his voice against corruption and political injustice inflicted on marginalized groups that constitute minorities in different regions of the Kingdom, notably Al-Qatif. The Saudi authorities arrested him in 2011 for participating in protests in the Eastern Province calling for political reform. They executed Al-Nimr along with 46 other people, under the pretext of "fighting terror" just to oppress dissidents and opponents.
On the same day, Iranian protestors broke into the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad, prompting the Kingdom to sever diplomatic ties with Tehran. In response, Tehran severed diplomatic relations with Riyadh.