Iraq Trying to Improve Tehran-Riyadh Relations

Iraq Trying to Improve Tehran-Riyadh RelationsIraq Trying to Improve Tehran-Riyadh Relations

Iraq’s foreign minister said he had carried messages between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a continuing attempt to curb a feud involving its two neighbors, Iran’s state television reported on Saturday. Relations between the two regional rivals worsened after thousands of people, many of them Iranians, died in a crush at the 2015 hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Ties worsened further when Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric a year ago, because of which angry Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and Riyadh severed diplomatic relations. “The [mediatory] steps have continued since last year, and I have exchanged messages between the two countries ... because any crisis in Iranian-Saudi relations affects Iraq as well, and a rapprochement between them would also benefit Iraq,” Ibrahim al-Jaafari was quoted as saying by IRIB’s website, Reuters reported. “I have carried oral messages between officials of the two countries in the past few months and we will try to bring their positions closer.” Iraq sent Jaafari to Tehran a year ago with an offer to mediate in the feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran, reflecting Baghdad’s fears that the conflict could affect its military campaign against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

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