Saudi top diplomat to visit Tehran Saturday: Iran media

AFP , Thursday 15 Jun 2023

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister is expected to visit Tehran on Saturday, Iranian media reported, as the two Middle Eastern powerhouses move to cement their recent landmark rapprochement after a seven-year rupture.

Saudi foreign minister
Calls for unity at the summit were led by the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Photo courtesy Saudi Press Agency (SPA)


"The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan, will travel to Tehran on Saturday, June 17, to meet with officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Tasnim news agency said on Thursday.

The visit has not been officially announced by either Tehran or Riyadh.

Citing unnamed "sources", Tasnim said the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which has been shut since 2016, may reopen during Prince Faisal's visit.

Saudi Arabia severed relations with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran and consulate in the northwestern city of Mashhad were attacked during protests over Riyadh's execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Since then, the two rival powers, which have maintained an enmity since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, have opposed each other on regional issues, sometimes supporting rival camps such as in Syria, Lebanon or Yemen.

In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restart their respective embassies and work towards resuming ties in a Chinese-brokered deal that has shifted regional relations.

Riyadh has since reconnected with Syria, an ally of Tehran, and has intensified its peace efforts in Yemen, where it leads a military coalition supporting the Yemeni government against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

Iran has also been engaged in Omani-mediated talks with the United States on Tehran's nuclear activity.

The Saudi foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, met in Beijing in April, where they both vowed to promote regional security and stability.

The same month, a Saudi delegation visited Iran to discuss reopening its diplomatic missions, Riyadh's foreign ministry said at the time.

Iran in early June reopened its long-shut embassy in Riyadh.

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