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Saudi Arabia ‘seeks Iraq’s help’ to mend ties with Iran

In Middle East, World

The government of Saudi Arabia has sought the help of Iraq’s prime minister to mend relations between Riyadh and Tehran, according to news reports.

Citing Qasim al-Araji, Iraq’s interior minister, the Iraqi satellite channel Alghadeer reported that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has asked Haider al-Abadi to lead the mediation with Iran.

“During our visit to Saudi Arabia, they also asked us to do so, and we said that to [the] Iranian side. The Iranian side looked at this demand positively,” Araji was quoted saying by Alghadeer on Sunday.

“After the victories that Iraq has achieved, it [Saudi Arabia] began looking to Iraq, at its true size and leading role.

“The calm and stability and the return of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have positive repercussions on the region as a whole.”

Araji visited the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday to discuss “several issues” with top Iranian officials, according to reports. He also visited Saudi Arabia in July.

The Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Araji in Farsi as saying that Mohammed bin Salman wanted to “ease tensions” with Iran.

Separately, Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential Iraqi Shia leader, announced on his website that he would be visiting the UAE on Sunday.

In July, Sadr made a rare visit to Saudi Arabia, where he met Mohammed bin Salman and other officials.

Sadr, an anti-American figure, commands a large following among the urban poor of Baghdad and the southern cities, including Saraya al-Salam, or Peace Brigades armed group.

He is now seen as a nationalist who has repeatedly called for protests against corruption in the Iraqi government, and his supporters have staged huge protests in Baghdad calling for electoral reform.

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