RIYADH: Iran is set to reopen its embassy in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, after a seven-year closure, Tehran and a diplomatic source said, sealing a Chinese-brokered rapprochement deal announced in March.
Tehran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani announced the reopening in a statement on Monday, confirming earlier comments by a diplomatic source in Riyadh.
Iran’s embassy in Riyadh, its consulate in Jeddah and its representative office to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation “will be officially reopened on Tuesday and Wednesday”, Kanani said.
The diplomatic source had earlier said the opening “will take place Tuesday at 6pm local time (1500 GMT) with the presence of the newly appointed Iranian ambassador” to Saudi Arabia.
While Saudi Arabia has yet to confirm when it will reopen its embassy in Tehran or its pick for ambassador, Iranian media had named Alireza Enayati as the Islamic republic’s Saudi envoy last month. He had previously served as Iran’s ambassador to Kuwait. Also, he had previously served as assistant to the foreign minister and director general of Gulf affairs at the foreign ministry, according to Iranian reports.
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.
After years of discord, the two Middle East heavyweights signed a surprise reconciliation agreement in China on March 10.
Since then, Saudi Arabia has restored ties with Tehran ally Syria and ramped up a push for peace in Yemen, where it has for years led a military coalition against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels. Iran and Saudi Arabia had backed opposing sides in conflict zones across the Middle East for years before mending fences.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2023