ECONOMY

Iran-Saudi Diplomacy Intensifies as Nuclear Talks See Momentum

Top diplomats from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the European Union met for the second time in less than a month on Tuesday in a sign of heightened efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East as Tehran prepares to resume talks on the 2015 nuclear deal.   

The gathering at the Iraqi ambassador’s residence in New York brought together “foreign ministers and senior representatives” of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, France, the EU, the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council, according to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency.

Iran has also been meeting European foreign ministers to discuss the nuclear accord and regional issues on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly where the countries have all gathered for an annual summit of world leaders. 

Iran’s foreign ministry described the event with Arab neighbors as a follow-up to an Aug. 28 summit in Baghdad, which had provided a rare forum for official contact between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia since they cut diplomatic ties in 2016.

Participants agreed to meet again in Jordan at an unspecified date, the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, Iran said it expected talks with world powers to restore the 2015 multinational accord that the U.S. abandoned three years ago with Saudi Arabia’s backing, to resume within the month ahead.

Europe has been urging Iran to restart the negotiations, which were stalled after the June election of Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi. Both Raisi and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden want to resurrect the six-year-old nuclear agreement but need to bridge important differences over how they return to full compliance with its terms.   

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