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‘Iran, Saudi Arabia to exchange diplomatic visits’

By Reuters - Aug 23,2017 - Last updated at Aug 23,2017

BEIRUT — Iran and Saudi Arabia will exchange diplomatic visits soon, Tehran said on Wednesday, indicating a possible thaw in relations between the regional rivals since they severed diplomatic ties last year.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) that the visits could take place after the Hajjj pilgrimage ends in the first week of September.

"The visas have been issued for both sides to make this trip," Zarif said, according to ISNA. "We are waiting for the final steps to be completed so diplomats from the two countries can inspect their embassies and consulates."

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are at their worst in years, with each accusing the other of subverting regional security and supporting opposite sides in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in Jan. 2016 after a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric was executed, prompting Riyadh to close the embassy.

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