Iranian, Saudi FMs To Meet Soon To Pave Way To Re-Open Embassies

The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to meet soon and pave the way for the re-opening of embassies under a Chinese-brokered deal to re-establish bilateral relations.

Iran’s Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud of Saudi Arabia discussed the matter during a phone call to mark the occasion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on March 23.

During the call, Amir-Abdollahian emphasized Iran’s readiness to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s official news agency IRNA said.

The two foreign ministers agreed to meet each other as soon as possible and start preparations for the re-opening of embassies and consulates, it added.

Earlier this month, Tehran and Riyadh agreed to resume diplomatic ties and reopen embassies following years of hostility between the two regional foes.

The deal between Sunni-ruled kingdom and Shia-majority Iran was announced after talks in Beijing between the two countries’ top security officials.

Saudi Arabia, a US ally, broke off ties with Iran in 2016 after protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic posts in the country. The demonstrations were triggered by the execution of a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.

Tensions have since risen dramatically across the Middle East, particularly after the United States unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers in 2018.

The Islamic Republic has been blamed for a series of attacks in the region in recent years, including one that targeted Saudi Arabia’s oil industry in 2019, temporarily halving the country’s crude production.