Iran says Tehran and Riyadh keen on more talks

STORY: Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran, which are locked in proxy conflicts across the Middle East, have held five rounds of talks hosted by Baghdad.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani described the talks at a weekly news conference as "promising".

Riyadh severed ties with Tehran in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital following the execution of a Shi'ite cleric in Saudi Arabia.

Kanaani also criticised U.S. military involvement in the Middle East, saying it has not brought security to countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

His comments come as Biden arrived in Israel to kick off a high-stakes trip to the Middle East dominated by efforts to persuade Gulf allies to pump more oil and bring Israel and Saudi Arabia closer together.

Afterward, he will take a direct flight from Israel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - a first for an American president - on Friday (July 15) for talks with Saudi officials and to attend a summit of Gulf allies.

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