Saudi and Iran held secret talks over Yemen conflict: report
Deutsche Welle (DW) *
Saudi Arabia have held “positive” talks — the first since diplomatic
ties were cut four years ago, the Financial Times reports. The regional
rivals have been engaged in a proxy war in Yemen.
Saudi and Iranian officials have held direct talks in an effort to repair relations between the two countries, four years after cutting off
diplomatic ties, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.
The report also cited a senior Saudi official, however,
denying that any talks had taken place.
The two regional rivals severed ties in 2016 over
Riyadh’s execution of Shi’ite Muslim cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an
outspoken opponent of the ruling Al Saudi family.
Meetings amid new
The talks took place as Washington and Tehran try to revive
a 2015 nuclear accord, which Riyadh has objected to.
The US is also pressing for an end to the ongoing conflict
in Yemen, which is seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and
Riyadh has called for a nuclear pact with stronger
parameters and has said that Gulf Arab states should join any negotiations
on the accord to ensure that it addresses Tehran’s missile program and its
support for regional proxies.
Former US President Donald Trump quit the nuclear agreement
and reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 — a move that Saudi Arabia and its
The nuclear agreement’s remaining signatories — Iran, the EU,
Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China — have been holding
talks in Vienna to pave the way for the US to rejoin.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also previously
indicated that he wants to cool hostilities with Arab rivals.
announces progress on uranium
On Friday, Iran announced that it had started enriching uranium
up to 60% purity, in the latest move to boost its nuclear capabilities.
The alleged enrichment level is now at its highest level,
and follows a sabotage incident at Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant the week prior.
Although 60% enrichment of uranium is a record high for
Iran, it is still below the 90% threshold required for nuclear weapons.
The announcement marked a significant escalation of tensions
in the Middle East, and casts doubt over the chances of finding a middle
ground on the nuclear deal.
The change in enrichment was both an effort to convince
other countries to come to the negotiating table and discuss its nuclear
program, as well as a response to the act of sabotage at Natanz, which Iran
blames on Israel.
Marib’s descent back
into war is shocking, but it shouldn’t be a surprise
When I visited Marib
three and a half years ago, it was being sold as an island of stability and
prosperity in the middle of Yemen’s violent war. I didn’t quite buy that line,
but I also didn’t foresee the danger and dread that are bearing down on the
central province and city now.