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Saudi top diplomat to visit Tehran Saturday — Iran media

By AFP - Jun 16,2023 - Last updated at Jun 16,2023

TEHRAN — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister is expected to visit Tehran on Saturday, Iranian media reported, as the two Middle East powerhouses move to cement their recent landmark rapprochement after a seven-year rupture.

"The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Faisal Bin Farhan, will travel to Tehran on Saturday, June 17, to meet with officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Tasnim news agency said on Thursday.

Iran's government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi added that Prince Farhan's visit would see him "take measures to open the embassy" of Saudi Arabia in Tehran.

Jahromi did not specify the exact date for the reopening of the embassy, which has been shut since 2016.

Tasnim has earlier cited "unnamed sources" as saying the Saudi embassy may reopen during Prince Faisal's visit.

Sunni Muslim power Saudi Arabia severed relations with Shiite-led Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran and consulate in the northwestern city of Mashhad were attacked during protests over Riyadh's execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Since then, the two rival powers, which have maintained an enmity since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, have opposed each other on regional issues, sometimes supporting rival camps such as in Syria, Lebanon or Yemen.

In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to reopen their respective embassies and work towards resuming ties in a Chinese-brokered deal that has shifted regional relations.

Riyadh has since resumed ties with Syria, an ally of Tehran, and has intensified its peace efforts in Yemen, where it leads a military coalition supporting the internationally-recognised government against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Iran has also been engaged in Omani-mediated talks with the United States on Tehran’s nuclear activity.

The Saudi foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, met in Beijing in April, where they both vowed to promote regional security and stability.

The same month, a Saudi delegation visited Iran to discuss reopening its diplomatic missions, Riyadh’s foreign ministry said at the time.

Iran in early June reopened its long-shut embassy in Riyadh.

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