Saudi Arabia to send diplomatic delegation to Iran

04 September 2017

Riyadh and Tehran suspended bilateral ties in 2016

A Saudi diplomatic delegation is set to visit Iran, a year after both Gulf powers suspended bilateral ties.

Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed media reports that Riyadh was considering sending a delegation to visit Tehran after Eid al-Adha.

“The Saudi delegation simply comes to visit diplomatic buildings because the buildings have been empty after the two countries broke off relations. At the same time, we will visit our buildings in Saudi Arabia,” said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi in comments reported by various agencies.

Iran had already issued visas for visiting diplomats who are likely to travel after the annual Hajj ceremonies reach conclusion, he added.

He did not specify a timeline for an Iranian delegation to visit Riyadh.

Iranian pilgrims returned to Saudi Arabia’s holiest city of Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage last month, two years after a massive human crush at the nearby city of Mina killed more than 400 Iranian pilgrims, including several notable diplomats.

The incident further inflamed political tensions between the two states, which were already taut as a result of their engagement on the opposing sides of the Syrian and Yemeni conflicts.

Diplomatic ties eventually reached straining point in early 2016, when Saudi Arabia executed Nimr al-Nimr, a leading Shia cleric from its Eastern Province, prompting protests in Iran that resulted in the Saudi embassy in Tehran being set on fire. The incident eventually led to the cessation of diplomatic ties between the two sides.

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