International Desk: Iran has reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia. Seven years after the two regional rivals severed their diplomatic ties, it resumed. Meanwhile, Iran called the re-opening of the embassy in Saudi Arabia "the entry into a new era" of cooperation.
The British media BBC reported this information in a report on Tuesday (June 6) night. According to reports, Iran has officially reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV reported that representatives of the Iranian and Saudi foreign ministries were present at the event held in Riyadh. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Bigdeli said the move showed that cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia was "entering a new era".
The embassy was opened three months after the Gulf states agreed to normalize relations with Iran, originally brokered by China. Earlier, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian held a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Cape Town, South Africa last Friday. In that meeting, the Iranian foreign minister expressed satisfaction with the "good progress of bilateral relations" of both countries.
Iran's foreign ministry also quoted Prince Farhan as saying that the groundwork was being laid for the reopening of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and that his visit to Tehran was confirmed "soon". Iran and Saudi Arabia, two countries in the Middle East, agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations last March after a long estrangement.
As a result, trade and security cooperation between the two rival countries is also expected to begin again. However, since 2016, there has been no diplomatic relationship between these two major countries of the Middle East. That year, the Saudi embassy in Tehran was attacked after Saudi Arabia executed a Shia leader. And then there was a dramatic deterioration in the relationship between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in January 2016 after mainly Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Since then, tensions have often persisted between these Sunni and Shia-led neighbors. These two countries consider each other as a threat to their regional hegemony. In addition, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in indirect fighting as opposing sides in several regional conflicts, including the civil wars in Syria and Yemen. And so tensions between Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shia-led Iran were often high.
According to the media, Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting for influence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. The country also supports rival parties in several conflict zones across the region, including two in Yemen. In Yemen, Houthi rebels are aligned with Tehran, while Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government. However, after ending the long-term hostility, these two powerful rivals of the Middle East signed an agreement on the normalization of diplomatic relations through the mediation of China on March 10. And in line with this, Iran opened an embassy in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.