The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran traveled on Thursday to Saudi Arabiain what constitutes the first trip to the kingdom of Tehran’s top diplomat in years, after both nations reached a détente mediated by China.
The visit of Hossein Amirabdollahian occurs at a time when Saudi Arabia and Iran they try ease tensions between the two countries, which have long been considered arch-enemies due to their influence in the Middle East. However, challenges persistespecially with regard to the advancement of the iranian nuclear programthe war led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen and security in the maritime lanes of the region.
Amirabdollahian’s trip to Riyadh coincides with the reopening of the diplomatic missions of both nations in their respective countries.
The Iranian foreign minister is accompanied by Alireza EnayatiIran’s new ambassador to the kingdom.
Amirabdollahian “arrived at the Riyadh airport a few minutes ago for a day trip, and was received by the Saudi Arabian deputy foreign minister,” the official news agency said. IRNA. The visit “focuses on bilateral ties and regional and international affairs”according to the state broadcaster IRIB.
IRNA He said Amir-Abdollahian was scheduled to meet his Saudi counterpart and other officials in the kingdom.
The last Iranian foreign minister who visited Saudi Arabia on a public trip was Mohammad Javad Zarifwho traveled to the kingdom in 2015 to offer their condolences on the death of king abdullah.
Iranmajority shiaand Saudi Arabiamuslim sunni, they had broken ties after Protesters invaded the Saudi embassy in that country. Saudi Arabia had executed the prominent Shiite cleric days earlier Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 other people, which triggered the demonstrations.
That happened when the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, then deputy, began his rise to power. Prince Mohammedson of King Salman, had already Compared the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to the Nazi Adolf Hitler, and had threatened to attack Iran.
the relection also plays a key role in tensions. Saudi Arabia, home of the kaaba in the form of a cube towards which Muslims pray five times a day, has been portrayed as the main sunni nation of the world. The Iranian theocracy, for its part, sees itself as the protector of Islam’s Shiite minority.
But after the coronavirus pandemic and the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Gulf Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, have begun to rethink how to manage relations with Iran. In March, the kingdom and Iran reached a Chinese-brokered deal to reopen embassies.
the war on Yemen continues, though Saudi-led attacks have declined sharply amid its efforts to withdraw from the conflict, which has seen rebels Houthissupported by Iran, maintain their control of the capital, Furyfor years.
In recent months, Iran has also faced Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for a disputed gas reservoir.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait claim “sole ownership” of the deposit, known as Arash in Iran and Dorra in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and Tehran has warned that if negotiations fail, it will “defend its rights” over the maritime zone.
the journey of amirabdollahian follows a visit from the prince Faisal bin Farhan to Iran in June this year, the Prime Minister of Saudi foreign affairs traveling to Iran since 2006.
Earlier that month, Iran had reopened its embassy in Riyadh with a flag-raising ceremony.
On Wednesday, Iranian state media claimed that Military from both countries had met in Moscow on the sidelines of a security conference.
amirabdollahian has declared this week that the new ambassador in Riyadh is accompanying him during the visit on Thursday to “officially start your mission”.
On August 9, Iran claimed that the Saudi embassy in Tehran had started operatingbut Riyadh has not confirmed it yet.
Iran has intensified its diplomatic activity in recent months and has pushed for closer ties with other Arab countries in an attempt to reduce their isolation and improve their economy.
Since the March agreement, Saudi Arabia has reestablished ties with Syriaan ally of Iran, and has intensified its efforts to achieve peace in Yemen.
The Islamic republic has reeled under the crippling sanctions of the United States since Washington withdrew in 2018 from a landmark nuclear deal under then-President Donald Trump.
(With information from AP and AFP)
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