Saudi Arabia offers condolences to Iran over Raisi's death

AFP , Monday 20 May 2024

Saudi Arabia extended its condolences on Monday to Iran over the death of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Iran s president Ebrahim Raisi (R) attending an emerg
File Photo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Iran President Ebrahim Raisi (R) attending an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Riyadh. AFP


King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "offer their condolences to his excellency, the acting head of the executive authority, Mohammad Mokhber, on the death of his Excellency Ebrahim Raisi, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his companions," said a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Shia-majority Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia have long been on opposing sides of regional conflicts, including in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

But in March 2023 the Middle East heavyweights announced a surprise rapprochement brokered by China, and they have been in relatively frequent contact in recent months as they worked to contain the Israeli war on Gaza.

That diplomatic outreach included the first phone call between Prince Mohammed and Raisi -- just five days after the war broke out -- and a visit by Raisi to Riyadh in November for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

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