Iran suspends talks with Saudi Arabia after mass execution — report


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Iran suspends talks with Saudi Arabia after mass execution — report
Halt comes after Riyadh put 81 people to death over various crimes, in largest known public killing in kingdom’s modern history, with over three dozen said to be Shiites
By Amir Vahdat
13 March 2022

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has decided to temporarily suspend its secret Baghdad-brokered talks aimed at defusing yearslong tensions with regional rival Saudi Arabia, Iranian state-linked media reported Sunday, a day after Saudi Arabia carried out the largest known mass execution in its modern history. The Iranian news website Nournews, considered close to the country’s Supreme National Security Council, reported the government had unilaterally paused the talks with Saudi Arabia that have been ongoing in Baghdad over the past year aimed at restoring diplomatic ties.

Iraq’s foreign minister earlier had said the fifth round of talks between Saudi and Iranian representatives was due to resume on Wednesday. The report did not give a reason for Iran’s suspension, but it comes after Saudi Arabia put to death 81 people convicted of crimes ranging from killings to ties to militant groups, a group that activists believe included over three dozen Shiites. Shiites, who live primarily in the kingdom’s oil-rich east, have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens. Saudi Arabia’s executions of Shiites have stirred regional unrest in the past.