Iran to reopen its diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia after a 7-year rift, state-run media say
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s foreign ministry announced it would reopen its diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia this week, restoring diplomatic ties after a seven-year rift, state-run media reported on Monday.
The foreign ministry’s spokesman, Nasser Kanaani said that the Iranian Embassy in Riyadh, its consulate general in Jeddah, and office of the permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation would officially reopen on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to establish diplomatic ties, in a Chinese-brokered deal, representing a major breakthrough in the region.
Saudi Arabia broke ties with Iran in 2016 after protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic posts in Tehran and the northeastern city of Mashhad during demonstrations triggered by the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric and 46 others in the oil-rich Kingdom.
Kanaani added that Iran’s Embassy in Riyadh and its consulate general in Jeddah had already begun operating to help Iranian pilgrims heading to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage, set to commence by the end of June.
Last month, Tehran named Alireza Enayati as its ambassador to Saudi Arabia, which had severed relations in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute over Sunni Muslim-ruled Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric.
The relationship had begun to deteriorate a year earlier after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in Yemen’s war, where the Iran-aligned Houthi movement had ousted a Saudi-backed government and taken over the capital Sanaa.
Riyadh accused Tehran of arming the Houthis, who went on to strike Saudi cities with armed drones and ballistic missiles. In 2019, the kingdom blamed an attack on Aramco oil facilities, which temporarily knocked out half of its oil output, directly on the Islamic Republic. Iran denied those accusations.