Iran, Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic ties after 8 years

Tehran, Mar 10 (EFE).- Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore diplomatic ties after years of hostilities, both nations confirmed on Friday.

Riyadh broke off ties with Tehran in 2016 after protesters stormed the Saudi diplomatic headquarters in Iran.

The deal was brokered in China, according to a joint statement by the three countries published by Iranian state media.

“As a result of the talks, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies … within two months,” the statement published by the Iranian news agency IRNA read.

Talks between Iran’s secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani and Saudi National Security Adviser, Musaid Al Aiban had been underway in Beijing since Monday, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

“Relations between Tehran and Riyadh will lead to the development of regional stability and security and will increase cooperation between the countries of the Persian Gulf and the Islamic world to face existing challenges,” Shamkhani said after penning the deal in statements broadcast by Iran’s Press TV.

The Saudi press agency also confirmed the trilateral agreement, lauding Chinese president Xi Jinping’s efforts in “developing good neighborly relations” between the Gulf nations.

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan, are expected to meet in the coming days to discuss the reopening of their respective embassies.

Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016 following attacks on diplomatic posts in Iran in the wake of the execution in Saudi Arabia of a well-known Shia Muslim cleric.

In April 2021, secret talks between Tehran and Riyadh began in Baghdad.

Representatives of both countries also held talks in Oman, but no further progress or details were announced.

Last year, Iran sent three diplomats to Saudi Arabia for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in a move that saw Tehran officials set foot in the country for the first time since bilateral ties were severed.

The regional rivals have been struggling for supremacy in the Middle East for years and have long been on opposing sides of geo-political issues in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of promoting terrorism in the region by backing Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah militias in Lebanon.

Most recently, Iran accused Riyahd of fomenting the unrest that sparked nationwide protests in the Persian country following the death in police custody of a young Kurdish woman in September.EFE


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