The two countries’ top diplomats agree to resume flights, officials’ visits and to facilitate visas for citizens.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, shook hands in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Thursday in the first formal meeting of the two senior officials after a years-long rift between Tehran and Riyadh that fuelled instability in the region.
“The technical teams will continue coordination to examine the ways of expanding cooperation including the resumption of flights and bilateral visits of official and private sector delegations and facilitating the granting of visas for the citizens of the two countries,” read a joint statement.
The statement comes after the two agreed in March to restore ties in a landmark agreement brokered by China – a move that experts say demonstrated Beijing’s increasingly influential role in the region in contrast to the diminishing role of the United States.
“The two sides stressed the importance of following up and activating the implementation of the Beijing Agreement, in a way that enhances mutual trust and expands the scope of cooperation, and contributes to achieving security, stability and prosperity in the region,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia and Iran broke formal ties in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in response to the kingdom’s execution of Shia Muslim leader Nimr al-Nimr – one in a series of flashpoints between the two longstanding regional rivals.
The kingdom then asked Iranian diplomats to leave within 48 hours while it evacuated its embassy staff from Tehran.
The relationship between the two, which had hit rocky patches on and off for more than 40 years, worsened notably as the regional rivals staked opposing positions on conflicts like the war in Syria and the Saudi intervention in the war in Yemen, where the Iran-aligned Houthi movement overthrew a Saudi-backed government and took over the capital, Sanaa.
For Saudi Arabia, the rapprochement could mean improved security. The kingdom has blamed Iran for arming the Houthis, who launched missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabian cities and oil facilities.
In 2019, Riyadh blamed an attack on Aramco oil facilities, which knocked out half of its oil output, directly on Iran, which denied those accusations.
The meeting between the two countries comes amid major shifts in the power dynamic of the region. After the Saudi-Iran rapprochement, Saudi State television reported that Riyadh was discussing the possible resumption of consular services between it and Damascus.
If confirmed, the re-establishment of ties between the kingdom and Syria would mark the most significant step yet in the Arab world to restore ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Al-Assad was shunned by many Western and Arab states after his security forces’ use of violence on protesters unleashed a civil war in 2011.
Saudi Arabia is also working on re-engaging with Turkey after years of tension exacerbated by the brutal killing by Saudi agents in Istanbul of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist.
Meanwhile, Iran appointed on Wednesday a new ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. While the two countries had broken ties in 2016, they recently began re-engaging, with the UAE appointing an ambassador to Tehran last year.
Original News : https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/6/saudi-arabia-iran-agree-to-continue-efforts-to-establish-ties
Persepolis clinch 2022/23 Hazfi Cup title
Iran, Iraq interior ministers discuss security issues
Iranian-built Simorgh aircraft conducts test flight