IRNA – Saudi Arabia, entangled in some dilemmas especially in Yemen conflict and change of new US administration’s policy, needs to hold talks with Iran; so, if the talks bear fruit, they can help resolve regional crises, Arab think tanks and analysts believe.
A high-ranking Iraqi official told London-based al-Arabi al-Jadid daily in a phone call on Sunday that media reports on Saudi and Iranian officials’ meeting in Baghdad are correct and precise and that the meeting at the level of security officials was hold under the supervision of Iraqi authorities.
The UK-based Financial Times newspaper quoted three informed officials as saying that Saudi and Iranian high-ranking officials held direct talks to repair relations five years after they cut off diplomatic ties. The three officials said on condition of anonymity that Iraq mediated the negotiations and that this happens in a time when US President Joe Biden attempts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and to calm regional tensions.
An informed official at Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al- Khadhimi, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the meeting was held in Baghdad’s Green Zone 10 days ago and that Qasim al-Araji, Iraqi national security adviser, and al- Khadhimi supervise the talks in order to repair crisis-hit ties between Riyadh and Tehran.
***Why do Saudis try to discuss with Iranians?
Despite the fact that Saudi authorities and media targeted Iran in recent years, the Islamic Republic extended its hands for peace with the Saudis and even proposed Hormuz Peace Initiative, but Riyadh dismissed any negotiation with Tehran. Now that Saudi Arabia is facing defeats in many regional issues, the Saudis put forward talks with the Iranians. Riyadh spent billions of dollars for war on Yemen, but their oil facilities, airports and military bases are being targeted almost every day.
Moreover, new US administration does not pursue the same policies, which were followed up by the Trump administration. The Biden administration wants to suspend arms deals between the US and Saudi Arabia, open inquiry into murder of Jamal Khashoggi, prominent Saudi journalist, and the situation of human rights in the Arab country.
Biden’s endeavor to return the US to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is another reason that the Saudis see they have no other option except trying negotiations to pave the ground for reaching understanding with Iran.
Almvsvh Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Algeria wrote that increasing and successful attacks by Yemen’s Ansarullah movement on Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas facilities as well as the Saudis’ understanding of failure of Iranophobic policy among Arab nations pushed Riyadh to change its attitude towards Tehran.
Saudi Arabia tries to pursue a set of objectives, in particular the Arab country’s security dilemmas in the region, through pushing forward negotiation with the Islamic Republic.
***Saudi-Iran talks to help solve regional crises
Some political analysts are of the opinion that the talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran will provide both countries with an appropriate avenue to resolve regional problems.
It is worth mentioning that in light of US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq the situations will become more appropriate for holding negotiations and reaching mutual understanding between Riyadh and Tehran.
Massoud Al-Fak, an Iraqi political expert, said that the improvement of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran will help improve Tehran’s ties with the Arab world and the Iranians will be able to utilize the opportunity to expand trade, cultural and religious exchanges.
If Riyadh and Tehran can reduce tensions, the new norm will affect other crises in the region, media analysts and Arab think tanks said.