Saudi-Iran talks to resume when conditions right in Iraq, says Iranian envoy

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The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

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KUWAIT, Aug 24 (Reuters) - A delayed sixth round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Baghdad will take place when the conditions are right in Iraq, Iran's ambassador to Kuwait said in published remarks confirmed by his embassy on Wednesday.

Riyadh and Tehran, the leading Sunni Muslim and Shi'ite powers in the region respectively, have have been locked in a decades long rivalry. Last year, they launched direct talks in a bid to improve relations.

Baghdad has hosted five rounds of talks so far, the last in April.

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Iran's envoy in Kuwait, Mohammad Irani, told Al Rai newspaper a new round was scheduled last month but was delayed due to the "latest developments in Iraq", which is facing a political crisis that has prevented the formation of a government.

"There is agreement on resuming discussions with a sixth round ... but we must wait for an Iraqi invitation after the current events in Iraq," Irani said.

He said the talks would aim to reach agreement for a direct meeting between the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Saudi Arabia, which severed ties with Iran in 2016, launched the direct talks last year as global powers' worked to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran.

Riyadh and its Gulf allies have pressed for any deal to address their security concerns regarding Iran's ballistic missiles programme and network of regional proxies.

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Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy Writing by Ghaida Ghantous Editing by Mark Potter

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