Top Iran official Ali Shamkhani (R) with Chinese diplomat Wang Yi (C) and Saudi official, Beijing, China, March 10, 2023


Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud have met in Beijing.

In a joint statement, the two Foreign Ministers agreed to the reopening of embassies in Tehran and Riyadh and consulates in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah and Iran’s Mashhad in the “agreed time”. Technical teams will examine expansion of cooperation, including the resumption of flights and travel visas.

Each Foreign Minister invited the other to bilateral meetings in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, MARCH 10: Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore diplomatic relations that were broken in early 2016.

Embassies will be reopened in Tehran and Riyadh within two months. The countries agreed to respect state sovereignty and not interfere in each other’s internal affairs. A security cooperation agreement from 2001 will be reactivated.

The accord was announced in talks in Beijing, brokered by China’s top diplomat Wang Yi.. Iran is represented by Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of the National Security Council.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been long-standing rivals in the Middle East. Tensions worsened in September 2015 when 464 Iranians were among more than 2,000 killed in a stampede in Mecca, and two months later with the Saudi execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Days later, a crowd attacked and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, prompting Riyadh to break relations.