Iran, Saudi Arabia reviving ties, preparing to re-open embassies: Lawmaker
Iran and Saudi Arabia are reviving bilateral relations severed five years ago over a host of issues and preparing to reopen embassies, an Iranian lawmaker says.
In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, a member of the Iranian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi said the restoration of ties between the two important countries of Iran and Saudi Arabia would play a leading role in easing tensions in the region.
"Relations between the two important countries of Iran and Saudi Arabia are being revived and embassies are preparing to reopen. This has important effects on reducing regional tensions and increasing cohesion of the Muslim world," he tweeted.
The Iranian legislator, meanwhile, warned the country's security bodies and media about “the Zionists’ vicious activities” and “stupid acts by radicals” to disrupt ties.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.
For years, the kingdom pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, but it recently appeared to have changed track.
The two Middle East heavyweights have held four rounds of talks since April, including a meeting last month with the administration of new President Ebrahim Raeisi.
In an interview with Al Jazeera published on January 6, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran and Riyadh have so far held four rounds of "positive and constructive" talks in Iraq.
He expressed Tehran's readiness to restore relations with Riyadh at any time, adding that Iran welcomes the reopening of the two sides' embassies and consulates.
The top Iranian diplomat also noted that the country's representatives to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation would return to Jeddah soon, which is a "positive and good sign."
In an interview with the Financial Times published in October, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud signaled his country's desire to repair relations with Iran, saying the kingdom is “serious” about talks with the Islamic Republic.
He described the negotiations as “exploratory” but “cordial” and said, "We are serious about the talks. For us it’s not that big a shift. We’ve always said we want to find a way to stabilize the region.”