Welcome to the Reuters.com BETA. Read our Editor's note on how we're helping professionals make smart decisions.
Read more
Sign In
May 5, 20218:13 AM PDTLast Updated 3 months ago
Middle East
Saudi Arabia, Iran held talks more than once in Iraq - Iraqi president
John Davison

3 minute read
Iraq's President Barham Salih attends a session at the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
BAGHDAD, May 5 (Reuters) - Iraq has hosted more than one round of talks between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Wednesday.
Salih made his remarks during an interview broadcast live online with the Beirut Institute think tank. He gave no more details.
Diplomats hope the opening of direct channels between Iran and Saudi Arabia will signal a calming of tensions across the Middle East after years of hostilities that have brought the region close to a full-scale conflict.
Baghdad hosted talks between officials from its two neighbours and mutual adversaries on April 9 in the only round of talks to have been previously reported.
Asked how many rounds of Saudi-Iranian talks Iraq had hosted, Salih replied: "More than once."
"It is ongoing, and it is important and it is significant, and for Iraq to be able to play that convening role between these regional actors is important," he added, although he gave no further details on the talks.
Washington and Tehran have engaged in indirect talks in Vienna that seek to revive an international pact reached in 2015 that constrained Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out the deal in 2018 and imposed harsh sanctions on Iran and its regional allies, increasing tension as Iran-backed militias attacked U.S. forces in Iraq and a series of attacks hit oil installations and tankers in the Gulf, where Washington counts Arab states such as Saudi among its close allies.
The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. air strike in Baghdad in January 2020 brought the region close to war. Iran responded with limited missile strikes against a U.S. base in Iraq, the first such direct attack, but took no further action.
Iraqis hope for a general regional detente that would allow their country to rebuild instead of being used as an arena for U.S., Gulf Arab and Iranian score-settling.
Iraq is trying to rein in powerful Iran-backed militias and deal with a resurgent Islamic State - the Sunni hardline Islamist group that took over a third of Iraq in 2014 and was beaten militarily in 2017 by U.S. forces, the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and Iran-aligned paramilitaries.
"The war against ISIS (Islamic State) and terrorism cannot be won by (only) military means," Salih said. "We have succeeded in liberating our land with the help of our friends but terrorism remains."
He added that he wished to see a solution to the Iran-U.S. rivalry that has fuelled violence in Iraq.
"The Middle East has been condemned to a cycle of conflict and instability over the last few decades... It's time to move beyond," Salih said.
Reporting by John Davison; editing by John Stonestreet
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
More from Reuters
Play video on original page
Read Next
Oil edges up in weekly rebound on forecasts for tight supplies
12:26 PM PDT
Middle East
Over 71% of Lebanon's population risks losing access to safe water - UNICEF
12:23 PM PDT
Middle East
Iran's Khamenei: do not blame people protesting over water crisis
12:15 PM PDT
U.S. stock markets hit new highs, treasury yields up as choppy week winds down
12:15 PM PDT

Sign up for our newsletter
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
Middle East
Middle East · 3:32 AM PDT
Iran's Khamenei says water crisis protesters cannot be blamed
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that Iranians protesting over water shortages in the southwest cannot be blamed, and called on officials to deal with the water problem, Iran's state media reported.
Middle East
Ex-UN rights boss to head probe into Israel, Hamas alleged crimes
July 22, 2021
Middle East
Turkey's coronavirus cases back up to mid-May levels
July 22, 2021
Middle East
Israel to reimpose coronavirus 'Green Pass' as Delta variant hits
July 22, 2021
Middle East
U.N. Security Council condemns plan to reopen Turkish Cypriot resort
11:14 AM PDT
About Reuters
About Reuters
Reuters News Agency
Brand Attribution Guidelines
Reuters Leadership
Reuters Fact Check
Reuters Diversity Report
Stay Informed
Download the App
Information you can trust
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Follow Us
Thomson Reuters Products
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Refinitiv Products
Information, analytics and exclusive news on financial markets - delivered in an intuitive desktop and mobile interface.
Refinitiv Data Platform
Access to real-time, reference, and non-real time data in the cloud to power your enterprise.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
Advertise With Us
Advertising Guidelines
Terms of Use
Site Feedback

All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved