Middle East

Iranian minister meets Saudi, other Arab officials in New York: Mehr

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on September 21, 2021 shows Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressing the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly from Tehran. - Raisi told the United Nations that he supported talks on the 2015 nuclear deal if they led to an ending of US sanctions. (Photo by HO / Iranian Presidency / AFP) / === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVI

Iran’s foreign minister has met officials from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Arab states in New York, and said strengthening ties with neighbours was the new government’s top priority, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Wednesday.

Mehr said Tuesday's meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly https://www.reuters.com/world/un-biden-will-try-move-past-afghanistan-with-climate-china-focus-2021-09-21 was attended by Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and "foreign ministers and senior representatives" of countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and France, as well as the European Union, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Iran's foreign ministry said on Twitter that Amirabdollahian had on Tuesday had what it called a follow-up meeting to a meeting he held during a conference in Baghdad on Aug. 28.

It did not say who attended on Tuesday apart from Amirabdollahian, or what was said. But his visit to Baghdad in August included a meeting with Gulf Arab officials.

Iraq, which has been trying to mediate between Tehran and its Gulf Arab foes, chaired the meeting at its ambassador’s residence in New York, Mehr said.

"Our gathering underscores the fact that only diplomacy and dialogue can end crises, misunderstandings and differences," Mehr quoted Amirabdollahian as saying. "The priority of the new government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to strengthen and develop relations with its neighbours and the region."

Iran and Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic ties in 2016.

Baghdad hopes its mediation will stop neighbours settling scores on Iraqi territory.

Amirabdollahian met separately with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, whom he assured of Iran's "willingness to resume negotiations at an early date," the EU said on Wednesday.

The meeting was scheduled on the sidelines of the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders in the absence of a ministerial meeting of the parties to the 2015 deal limiting Iran's nuclear programme.

The world powers have held six rounds of indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Vienna to try to work out how both can return to compliance with the nuclear pact. Talks were suspended two days after hard line cleric Ephraim Raisin was elected Iran's president in June.





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