Saudi senior source denies FT report of holding secret talks with Iran

A senior Saudi official has denied direct talks have been held with Iran; four years after the two countries cut off diplomatic ties; contradicting a Financial Times report claiming discussions were ongoing between the two major regional players.

The Financial Times report; citing unnamed sources said the first round of talks took place in Baghdad on April 9; which included discussions on attacks against Saudi Arabia by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

The report said the talks were being facilitated by Iraqi prime minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi; who held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed in Riyadh last month.

Interestingly; not only did a Saudi source deny the story; but neither the Iranian and Iraqi governments provided the FT with a comment.

The report comes as major countries – China; Russia; France; Britain; Germany – engaged with Iran on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have agreed to accelerate work on issues; including which sanctions on Tehran that the US would lift.

The nuclear deal; formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; collapsed in 2018 when the US pulled out and then-president Donald Trump reimposed sanctions against Tehran.