Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Jeddah, August 18, 2023
UPDATE, AUG 18:
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has hosted Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in 90-minute talks in Jeddah.
Amir Abdollahian said the discussions “explicit, frank, fruitful, and productive based on neighborhood policy”.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia can bring about further growth and prosperity to the region by improving comprehensive cooperation, including in the political, economic, commercial, transit, scientific and technological, cultural, and popular fields.
UPDATE, JUNE 19:
The first visit by a Saudi Foreign Minister to Iran since January 2016, when the two countries broke relations, has been undermined by a diplomatic incident.
Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud refused to attend a joint press conference, with Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian, because the room featured a photograph of the late Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on the wall.
Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards branch for operations outside Iran. The Force’s regional activities, from Iraq to Yemen to Syria, often put it in conflict with the Saudis. Both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain labelled Soleimani as a “terrorist”.
Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. The operation came soon after Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi insurgents carried out attacks on Saudi oil tankers and facilities.
Amir Abdollahian confirmed that the press conference was moved to a different room in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. He continued to promote Soleimani as a symbol of “unity and brotherhood among the Islamic world”.
Saudi Arabia has not commented officially on the incident.
UPDATE, JUNE 17:
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has arrived in Tehran.
The visit is the first by a Saudi Foreign Minister since the two countries broke diplomatic relations in January 2016.
Having renewed links in March, Iran officially reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia on June 7.
Bin Farhan will meet with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.
UPDATE, APR 6:
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.
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) April 6, 2023
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 & #SaudiArabia have agreed to resume bilateral ties within 2 months, & FMs will meet to prepare for the exchange of ambassadors, said a tripartite statement of Iran-Saudi Arabia-China following days of negotiations between SNSC secretary & his Saudi counterpart in Beijing. https://t.co/bbozZoUO6A pic.twitter.com/llZHthjmFE
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) March 10, 2023
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.