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‘Serious progress’ made between Tehran and Riyadh over Gulf security – Iranian foreign ministry

The spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, told state media on Thursday that “serious progress” has been made between Tehran and Riyadh on “the subject of security in the Gulf.”
Iran and Saudi Arabia have taken opposing stances on a number of matters within the Gulf and Middle Eastern regions, with the new talks – which have been ongoing since April – marking the first communication between the pair since 2016.

Iran’s former president Hassan Rouhani initiated the talks between the two countries, with his more conservative successor, Ebrahim Raisi, continuing the negotiations after taking office in August.

The remarks from the foreign ministry came on the side of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, with Khatibzadeh describing the Iran-Saudi talks as “good,” with “serious progress” having been made. He added, though, that Tehran and Riyadh must be left to conclude their talks without interference from other regional or international players.

The central area of conflict involving the two countries has been the ongoing war in Yemen, where Iran has backed the Shiite rebels, while Saudi Arabia has supported the government forces.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman stated on Wednesday that he hopes the negotiations will “lead to tangible outcomes to build trust” and allow the two states to reestablish bilateral “cooperation”. Speaking via videoconference to the UN, Salman urged Tehran to end “all types of support” for armed groups in the Gulf, so that it and Riyadh can rebuild ties.

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