Iraq has hosted more than one round of Saudi-Iranian talks - president

Salih gave no further details

  
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman and Iraq's President Barham Salih shake hands during the14th Islamic summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia June 1, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman and Iraq's President Barham Salih shake hands during the14th Islamic summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia June 1, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

BAGHDAD: Iraq has hosted more than one round of talks between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Wednesday.

Salih gave no further details. He made the remarks during an interview broadcast live online with the Beirut Institute think tank.

Asked how many rounds of Saudi-Iranian talks Iraq had hosted, Salih replied: "More than once."

Iranian and Saudi officials met in Baghdad on April 9 in a diplomatic breakthrough that diplomats hope could calm tensions in the region while the United States engages in indirect negotiations in Vienna for a possible return to a nuclear deal with Iran.

Only that one round of talks on April 9 has been previously reported.

Former President Donald Trump's withdrawal in 2018 from a 2015 international pact to curb Iranian nuclear activities, and crushing sanctions imposed on Iran afterwards, sent tensions soaring across the Middle East.

In Iraq, the United States killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani in 2020 and militia groups backed by Iran continue to fire rockets at U.S. bases.

(Reporting by John Davison; editing by John Stonestreet) ((John.Davison@thomsonreuters.com;))

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