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Two protesters sit by a mural showing Iraqi flags in Tahrir Square, Baghdad. Two protesters sit by a mural with Arabic that reads, “Iraq,” in Tahrir Square, Baghdad, Jan. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Nasser Nasser).

Iraq Is a Good Place to Start for an Iran-Saudi Dialogue

Monday, April 19, 2021

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it.

As negotiations over the future of the Iran nuclear deal finally began in earnest in Vienna last week, reports emerged of direct talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, seemingly reflecting a potential shift in regional dynamics. The meetings were purportedly hosted by Iraq, a country whose own security is inevitably linked to the trajectory of other regional rivalries. The talks themselves were denied by both Saudi Arabia and Iran, so it is unwise to draw far-reaching conclusions about their importance. Even if their existence is eventually verified, expectations about their potential impact should be tempered. Nonetheless, such contact should be happening and would be a genuinely welcome development. ...

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