Iraq’s Hakim urges Riyadh to hold talks with Tehran to resolve disputes

Tasnim – Leader of Iraq’s National Alliance Ammar al-Hakim called on Saudi Arabia to resolve disputes with Iran over regional issues through dialogue and said Baghdad can help the two countries to reconcile their stances.

Speaking to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Hakim pointed to disputes among some Middle Eastern countries over the Syrian crisis and said Iraq has proposed a plan to hold a joint meeting of five regional powers, namely Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.

Baghdad has called for holding the talks because it believes that disputes can provide a pretext for presence of trans-regional military forces in the region, the cleric said.

He further called on “the Saudi brothers” to engage in dialogue with Iran and said regional countries should come to the negotiating table to understand each other’s concerns and settle their disputes because otherwise, it would be to the detriment of all sides.

Hakim, who is also the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), emphasized that Baghdad can also play “a positive role” in bringing the stances of Iran and Saudi Arabia closer to one another.

Relations between Tehran and Riyadh have strained over the past years after their conflicting views on regional developments, particularly on Yemen and Syria, became more noticeable.

The relations further deteriorated after a crush of pilgrims in Mina, near Saudi Arabia’s Mecca, in September 2015, which killed over 7,000 Hajj pilgrims, including 465 Iranians.

Tehran has blamed the deaths on the Al Saud’s mismanagement of the Hajj pilgrimage and criticized Riyadh for “lack of cooperation” on restoring the rights of families of the victims.