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Will Iraq succeed in bringing Iran, Saudi Arabia closer?

Iraq has been stepping up its mediation efforts to achieve a Saudi-Iranian reconciliation amid a conducive political and economic environment.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) speaks during a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Baghdad, July 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad - RTX1M0DA

On Jan. 14, Iraqi and Iranian media reported that Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari offered to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia in order to overcome their disputes and restore their bilateral relations that were ruptured following the Jan. 2, 2016, attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The attack came after a series of diplomatic tensions between the two countries over incidents such as the 2015 hajj stampede in Mecca that killed more than 450 pilgrims and Saudi Arabia’s execution of dissident Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2, 2016.

Jaafari confirmed these reports, saying that he has been engaged in mediation efforts since last year. “I’ve indeed exchanged messages between officials from the two countries,” he said, according to what Reuters reported from Iranian state TV. Jaafari added, “Any crisis in Saudi-Iranian relations also affects Iraq as well and vice versa.”

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