Iran-Saudi tensions near end, Iraq PM says
An end to years of tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia is near, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi said in an interview published on Saturday.

Iraq, a neighbor to both countries, has hosted five rounds of talks over the past year aimed at restoring ties between Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

Following the latest round in Baghdad, Iraqi officials have sounded increasingly optimistic, talking of an imminent sixth session and even going so far as to raise the prospect of a resumption in diplomatic relations severed in 2016.

Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhemi attended the latest round of Iran-Saudi talks, according to diplomats.

"Our brothers in Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran approach the dialogue with a big responsibility as demanded by the current regional situation," Kadhemi said in his interview with the state-owned Al-Sabah newspaper.

"We are convinced that reconciliation is near," which would benefit regional stability, said Kadhemi, who Iraqi diplomats say attended the most recent meeting.

On Tuesday, the spokesman for Iraq's Foreign Ministry, Ahmed al-Sahaf, said the talks "are continuing... and could perhaps lead to a restoration of diplomatic representation between Iran and Saudi Arabia", state news agency INA reported.

In March, Iranian media said that Tehran had suspended participation in the talks after Saudi Arabia announced it had executed a record 81 people in just one day.

But in early March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country and Iran were "neighbors forever", and that it was "better for both of us to work it out and to look for ways in which we can coexist".

Talks resumed on April 2021 between senior security officials from the two countries.

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