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Monday, December 4, 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Top Diplomat to Visit Tehran, Signaling Potential Breakthrough in Relations


Tehran: In a significant development, Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat plans to visit Tehran, taking a crucial step towards restoring diplomatic relations between the two rival Middle Eastern nations. According to an official statement from Iran, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan will meet with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, on Saturday. Prince Faisal’s visit gains additional importance as he is expected to personally inaugurate the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Both countries have recently resumed the operations of their respective diplomatic missions in the other nation, signaling a positive shift in their relations. This meeting follows the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Saudi Arabia earlier in June, highlighting the ongoing diplomatic engagements in the region.

China actively mediated and brokered the breakthrough agreement that restored diplomatic ties and facilitated the reopening of embassies between Iran and Saudi Arabia after seven years of strained relations. Experts widely acknowledge that this agreement represents a substantial step towards proactively reducing the risk of future conflicts, both by directly addressing the issues between the two nations and by resolving proxy disputes in the region.

Past incidents, such as attacks attributed to Iran following the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018, have fueled tensions. In 2019, an attack targeted Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, leading to a temporary halt in crude production. The long-standing animosity between Iran, predominantly Shiite, and Saudi Arabia, predominantly Sunni, has been a source of tension for years.

Protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran in 2016, leading to a rupture in diplomatic relations. The execution of a prominent Shiite cleric and 46 others by Saudi Arabia triggered this event. The upcoming meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries holds the promise of improving ties and fostering greater stability in the region.


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