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Iran says ‘serious progress’ made in talks with Saudi Arabia

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Iran and Saudi Arabia achieved “serious progress” on the issue of Gulf security, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Thursday.

“We have had several rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia’s government in [Iraqi capital] Baghdad over the past few months. There have been good talks on bilateral issues. Serious progress has been made on the subject of security in the Gulf,” state news agency IRNA quoted Khatibzadeh as saying.

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He added that Tehran believes the solution to resolving the problems of the of the region can be achieved through a “comprehensive mechanism” from within the region itself. Iran has long argued against foreign interference in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in his speech to the UN on Wednesday: “Iran is a neighboring country. We hope that our preliminary talks with it will lead to tangible outcomes to build trust, paving the way to achieve aspirations of our peoples in building relations of cooperation.”

The King added that any relationship with Iran must be “based on the compliance with principles and resolutions of the international legitimacy, respect for sovereignty, and avoidance of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, as well as it stopping all types of support for terrorist groups and sectarian militias that have brought only war, destruction, and suffering to the peoples of the world.”

Saudi Arabia and Iran began talks in April in an effort to contain tensions between them. Iraq’s president had said Baghdad hosted the talks.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have long criticized Iran for its malign activities in the region through its network of proxies in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. The Gulf countries have also condemned Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.

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