Iran, Egypt pursue normalization in Baghdad talks

TEHRAN, May 09 (MNA) – Egypt and Iran have been holding talks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad since March to discuss normalizing relations between the two regional powerhouses, Egyptian and Iraqi officials told media outlets.

The latest round of discussions began at the weekend, Egyptian officials said, although it is not clear how much progress has been made so far.

The talks have also touched on reducing tension in places where Iran wields significant influence, such as Yemen, Lebanon and Syria, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations have not been made public.

The two sides are also exploring the possibility of a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi, they said.

The talks in Baghdad appear to be part of a continuing regional realignment in which Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore diplomatic relations severed in 2016.

An Iraqi diplomat told The National that two rounds of low-level talks between Egyptian and Iranian officials were held in Baghdad in March and April this year.

“Both sides have welcomed Iraq’s efforts to mediate,” said the diplomat.

News of the secret negotiations has emerged two months after Iran said it wanted to improve ties with Egypt.

"Egypt is an important country in the region and what the region needs is synergy between Iran and Egypt, and we believe in taking new steps to improve our relations,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kan'ani said in March, just days after Tehran and Riyadh said they agreed to resume diplomatic relations.

Egypt's presidency and Foreign Ministry had welcomed the Saudi-Iranian agreement, saying they hoped it would result in defusing regional tensions.


News Code 200506


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