Saudi Arabia-Iran rapprochement promotes regional peace, security: Iraq’s president

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The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran has a positive impact on the region in terms of peace and security, Iraq’s president said during a meeting with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia and Iran announced in March that they had reached an agreement, brokered by China, to reestablish diplomatic relations after seven years of no formal ties.

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“The rapprochement between Iran and the countries of the region and the restoration of relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a positive factor for the consolidation of security and peace,” Iraqi state news agency INA quoted President Abdul Latif Rashid as telling Ali Bagheri-Kani.

The Iraqi president also “stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between Iraq and Iran in the fields of energy and trade,” INA said.

Relations between Iran and Iraq, which were engaged in an eight-year war in the 1980s, have significantly improved since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Iraq has emerged as a vital economic partner for Iran, particularly as Tehran faces international sanctions due to its nuclear program. In return, Iran provides Iraq with gas, electricity, and consumer goods.

Under the deal signed in March, Riyadh and Tehran agreed to reopen embassies and consulates in each other’s territories and implement security and economic cooperation agreements that were signed over 20 years ago.

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran in 2016 following an attack by pro-regime protesters on its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad.

Iran reopened its embassy in Riyadh last month. Saudi Arabia has not yet said when it will reopen its embassy in Tehran.

Last month, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan made a landmark visit to Tehran, where he met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and President Ebrahim Raisi.

During the same month, Amir-Abdollahian visited the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, demonstrating Tehran’s active efforts to reduce its isolation and improve its economy.

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