Saudi FM visits Iran amid improving ties

Tehran, Jun 17 (EFE).- Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan was in Tehran on Saturday on an official visit, three months after Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to normalize relations after seven years.

Bin Farhan was meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hosein Amir Abdolahian, and Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.

The Saudi foreign minister was also due to review the work towards reopening its embassy and consulate on Iranian soil, which for the time being will be located in a hotel in Tehran, according to media in Iran.

Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed in March through Chinese mediation to normalize their diplomatic relations, which had been frozen since 2016.

As part of the agreement, earlier this month Iran reopened its embassy in Riyadh and its consulate general in the Saudi city of Jeddah, while Saudi Arabia has not yet proceeded with the reopening of its diplomatic legations on Iranian soil due to technical reasons.

Riyadh cut relations with Tehran in 2016 following attacks on its diplomatic headquarters in Iran Saudi Arabia executed a leading Shiite cleric.

The agreement to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries paved the way for Syria’s readmission to the Arab League after 12 years, in addition to talks between Iran and Egypt to normalize their relations and of peace negotiations in Yemen.

At the same time, Tehran and Riyadh are planning to create a new alliance with other countries in the region to “guarantee security” in the northern Indian Ocean, Iranian naval sources reported Saturday, citing Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Oman and Iran.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have long challenged each other for regional hegemony, often supporting rival sides in regional conflicts, such as in the long-running war in Yemen. EFE


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