Iran has suspended an upcoming fifth round of talks with Saudi Arabia, dimming the prospect of both sides reaching an agreement after sustained negotiations over the past year to ease tensions between the two countries.
Its government did not outline a reason for the decision, however the snub does follow Saudi Arabia’s biggest mass execution in decades.
Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia reportedly executed 81 people yesterday – including 41 Shi’ite Muslims – for terrorism related offences.
Both countries have been backed opposing sides in regional conflicts and political disputes in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq over recent years.
Saudi Arabia has also led an Arab coalition waging war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen since 2015.
Meanwhile, talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and boost oil supplies face the prospect of collapse.
The White House has engaged in talks with Iran as it looks to calm its cost-of-living crisis by cutting down oil prices ahead of the mid-terms this November.
It has offered to lift sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme, long seen by the West as a cover for developing atomic bombs.
A deal with Tehran could eventually lead to Iranian oil flooding the market, which could reach 3.8m barrels per day at full capacity.
However, after 11 months of progress, last-minute Russian demands have forced world powers to pause negotiations.
Despite having a largely completed text, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov unexpectedly pushed for sweeping guarantees last weekend that Russian trade with Iran would not be affected by Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine .
This demand has been rejected by the West.
Oil prices spiked to 14 year highs last week – peaking at $139 per barrel.
Coming into the new week, prices remain elevated, with Brent Crude at $112.70 and WTI Crude at 109.30, with markets enduring wild swings amid geopolitical volatility.