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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Iran to hold talks with Saudi Arabia only if Riyadh shows ‘seriousness’

Saudi Arabia and Iran, the region's Sunni Muslim and Shi'ite powerhouses, launched direct talks this year at a time global powers are trying to salvage a nuclear pact with Tehran and as U.N.-led efforts to end the Yemen war stall.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday that further talks with Saudi Arabia depend on Riyadh’s “seriousness”.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, the region’s Sunni Muslim and Shi’ite powerhouses, launched direct talks this year at a time global powers are trying to salvage a nuclear pact with Tehran and as U.N.-led efforts to end the Yemen war stall.

“We invite Riyadh [to take] a diplomatic and political approach and respect the principle of non-interference in other countries, which is the only way forward for the region,” Khatibzadeh said during a presser.

Read more: Saudi, Iranian experts meet in Jordan for security dialogue

The kingdom, which cut ties with Tehran in 2016, has described the talks as cordial but exploratory, while an Iranian official in October said they had gone a “good distance”.

IAEA cameras for nuclear site

Iran said Sunday the technical inspection of new surveillance cameras for the Karaj nuclear facility had begun after Tehran said previous cameras were damaged in an attack it blamed on Israel.

The new cameras, provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are to replace those Iran says were damaged on June 23 during an Israeli “sabotage” operation.

Tehran and the Vienna-based IAEA announced Wednesday that they had reached agreement on replacing the cameras at the TESA nuclear complex in Karaj, west of Tehran, a facility which makes centrifuges.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, listed the three conditions set by Tehran for the reinstallation.

Iran demands “legal and security investigations into the sabotage”, the IAEA’s condemnation of the matter, and a “technical and security investigation of the cameras” before their installation, he said, speaking on state television.

“The authorisation given by Iran did not come in the form of a new agreement, but after the three prerequisites were met,” Kamalvandi added.

The IAEA was not able to recover the camera memory cards destroyed in June, and on Friday the agency’s director general Rafael Grossi said he had “doubts” over a missing camera memory unit.

Read more: US, Israel mock attack Iran’s nuclear sites

Suspicions have been raised in Iran that June’s attack could have been enabled by the hacking of the cameras.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk