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Iran, Saudi Arabia agree to resume diplomatic ties after tensions

Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore ties and to reopen respective diplomatic missions after talks in China, state media in both countries reported, seven years after relations were severed.

“Following talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months,” the official Iranian news agency IRNA said on Friday, citing a joint statement.

The official Saudi Press Agency also published the statement.

Riyadh cut ties with Tehran after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the country in 2016 following the Saudi execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, had travelled to Beijing on Monday for “intensive negotiations with his Saudi counterpart in China in order to finally resolve the problems between Tehran and Riyadh”, IRNA said.

Iran and Saudi Arabia support rival sides in several conflict zones across the Middle East, including in Yemen where the Houthi rebels are backed by Tehran, and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government.

Iraq, a neighbour to both countries, had hosted several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia since April 2021.

Those encounters were held at a relatively low level, involving security and intelligence officials.

In Friday’s statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia said they “thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting the talks held between the two sides in 2021 and 2022 as well as the leaders and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and supporting the talks held in that country.”

Iran ‘unilaterally’ suspends direct talks with Saudi Arabia 

Türkiye welcomes agreement

Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement said that it is a “significant step” taken by Tehran and Riyadh “in conformity with the rapprochement and normalisation processes that have prevailed in the Middle East for a while.” 

Ankara congratulated the two countries for their decision and expressed the belief that “this progress in the relations of the two countries would make important contributions to the security, stability, and prosperity of our region.” 

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