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No date set for next Iran-Saudi Arabia talks: media

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Yemeni supporters of the Iran-backed Huthi movement brandish their weapons as they rally in the capital Sanaa to protest against the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in their country, on January 27. AFP

No date set for next Iran-Saudi Arabia talks: media

Iranian state media reported on March 13 that no date has yet been set for further dialogue between Tehran and Riyadh, after other media reports said talks have been “temporarily suspended”.

Relations between the regional rivals have been severed since early 2016.

The two countries have held four rounds of talks in Iraq since April aimed at restoring ties.

“No date has been set so far for a new round of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” IRNA news agency reported.

“Some news sources claimed that the talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia were temporarily suspended,” IRNA noted, while stressing that “Iran has not yet announced a specific date for the talks.”

Shiite-majority Iran and the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia support rival sides in several conflict zones across the region, including in Yemen, where the Huthi rebels are backed by Tehran.

In 2016, Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom executed revered Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Riyadh responded by cutting ties with Tehran.

Reports of Iran suspending participation in the dialogue came a day after Saudi Arabia announced that it had executed in just one day 81 people convicted of various crimes related to “terrorism”, a record number.

Saudi official media stated that those executed belonged to the Islamic State jihadist group, “Al-Qaeda and the terrorist Huthi movement, and other terrorist organisations hostile to the kingdom”.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on the evening of March 13 condemned the executions, calling them “contrary to the basic principles of human rights and international law”.

In a statement, he also criticised “the silence and inaction of countries claiming [to defend] human rights”, accusing the West of double standards.

Western countries, the UN and human rights organisations have frequently criticised Iran for its use of the death penalty.

According to Amnesty International, Iran is second only to China in its use of the capital punishment, with at least 246 people executed in 2020.

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