Iran suspends talks with Saudi Arabia after mass execution; Reports

Iran suspends talks with Saudi Arabia after mass execution; Reports

Iran has chosen to discontinue its secret Baghdad-brokered discussions aimed at defusing years of tensions with regional adversary Saudi Arabia, Iranian state-linked media claimed Sunday, a day after Saudi Arabia carried out the greatest recorded mass execution in modern history.

The Iranian news website Nournews, which is regarded loyal to the country's Supreme National Security Council, stated that the administration had unilaterally halted discussions with Saudi Arabia that had been taking place in Baghdad for the previous year in order to restore diplomatic ties.

The fifth round of discussions between Saudi and Iranian delegates was scheduled to resume on Wednesday, according to Iraq's foreign minister.

The report did not specify the reason for Iran's suspension, but it comes after Saudi Arabia executed 81 individuals for offences ranging from murder to links to terrorist groups, a group that activists think included more than a dozen Shiites.

According to the state-run IRNA news agency, Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, the killings are a "violation of core norms of human rights and international law."
Shiites, who dwell predominantly in the oil-rich east of the country, have long complained of being regarded as secondclass citizens. In the past, Saudi Arabia's murders of Shiites sparked regional unrest.

Iran, the world's largest Shiite Muslim country, and Saudi Arabia, the world's Sunni superpower, suspended diplomatic ties in 2016 after Saudi Arabia murdered renowned Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Protesting the death, angry Iranians stormed two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, escalating years of antagonism between the two countries.

Protests erupted among Shiites in the neighbouring island country of Bahrain late Saturday in response to the mass killings.

The Baghdad-mediated talks between the regional foes began quietly last year in Iraq's capital as Saudi Arabia sought a way to end its disastrous war in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a conflict that has resulted in the world's worst humanitarian disaster and has seen rebel drones and missiles rain down on Saudi airports and oil facilities.

Iran-backed militias have also assaulted Saudi locations and sent drones from Iraq against the country. The hiatus in diplomatic discussions between the countries that have long fought for influence across the Middle East comes at a critical juncture in the region's history.

On Sunday, Iran claimed responsibility for a missile strike near the US embassy in Irbil, Iraq's northernmost city, claiming the action was in revenge for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard.

Meanwhile, talks to resurrect Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with international powers collapsed last week without a settlement, throwing doubt on months of discussions that had nearly achieved a breakthrough.

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