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The Purpose of the Baghdad Summit and Its Impact on the Iranian Government

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The Baghdad Summit was held in the Iraqi capital on August 28, 2021, with the presence of the leaders and senior officials of the neighboring countries of Baghdad. Apart from the apparent reasons given for holding the summit, what is the nature and purpose of this summit?

The Middle East is brim with many crises and turbulences. Observers say that there are just a few moments and days that this crisis-prone region is not burning in the flames of wars, which is flaring from a corner of this region, no conflict arises between the two countries, and no serious challenges are posed to the region, governments, and people of the Middle East.

Occasionally there are meetings in this region between the countries who are trying to decrease their disagreements, while not every time the outcome is not zero but is not always perfect and the conflicts continue.

The issue of cooperation and dialogue between Saudi Arabia and the Iranian government has sometimes led Iraq, which is self the victim of the Iranian government’s intervention in the country, to host the two countries, east and south to its borders, and try out its chances for an agreement that could bring relative stability to Iraq which is damaged by the conflicts mainly executed by Iran’s regime.

Before the start of the Vienna talks on the Iranian government’s nuclear program, French president Emmanuel Macron said any new negotiations about the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) should include Saudi Arabia and other countries of the region.

“Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates have said that Gulf Arab states should be involved in any talks this time which they say should also address Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for proxies around the Middle East.” (Reuters, January 29, 2021)

The Iranian government, in the name of the so-called Iraqi Initiative, met with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad to prevent Arab countries, from interfering in the Vienna talks and that the regime’s regional inference should not be included in new nuclear negotiations. This could and be a heavy impact on the Iranian government, as it is still strongly opposing it.

Aligned with the Vienna talks some secret and sometimes official meetings were held between Iran and Saudi Arabia without any specified result.

The Iranian government thought to have reached its desired goal, which was keeping the Arab countries away from the Vienna talks, did not show any serious desire to continue the talks which finally came to a standstill on June 20, which is continuing until now.

Now with the host of the Iraqi government and Iranian-Saudi talks have started again. The two countries met in Baghdad on August 28, along with other Iraqi neighbors, except Syria.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry and its Iranian counterpart also attended the Baghdad summit.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian, who attended the Baghdad meeting on behalf of the Iranian government, said the Iranian government is ready to develop bilateral and regional cooperation with Saudi Arabia.

It is worth mentioning that the Iraqi Foreign Minister had previously invited Ibrahim Raisi to attend the Baghdad Summit, but in the end, the Iranian Foreign Minister left for the Baghdad Summit.

Earlier, Iraqi officials said one of the main goals of the Baghdad summit was to improve relations between Tehran and Riyadh as regional rivals. Now, why Baghdad seeks to improve relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a question that needs to be considered.

There is no doubt that after the fall of the former Iraqi government, the Iranian regime has had very extensive interventions in Iraq, which have also spread to other countries such as Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, etc., endangering the interests of Saudi Arabia and the stability of all the countries in the Middle East.

Something that the regime is not paying its price but the people of Iran and the people of other countries.  So, countries like Iraq are looking for a way to end these proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Tehran.

Saudi Arabia and the Iranian government have not had diplomatic relations for six years after the attack on the Saudi embassy and consulate in Tehran and Mashhad and have been waging a proxy war in Yemen.

Some time ago, it was thought that with the continuation of negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Tehran, representatives from Saudi Arabia would go to Tehran for the inauguration of the regime’s new president Ebrahim Raisi, but this does not happen, it seems that the level of talks and cooperation is still not developed and instable.

But another hidden goal of the Iranian government to attend the Baghdad summit can be considered the country’s concern about the Abraham Accord between Israel and Arab nations, which has caused concern to the Iranian government in recent years.

Certainly, Iran’s regional dialogues with Arab countries conflict with the Abraham Accord, and the strengthening of one of the two negotiations inherently undermines the other. The Iranian government’s participation in the Baghdad Summit can also be examined from this perspective.

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