Iran says diplomatic missions resume operations in Saudi Arabia

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A picture shows the closed Iranian embassy in the diplomatic quarter of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on April 11, 2023. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that three Iranian diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia have resumed operations.

   Nasser Kanaani made the remarks at a weekly press conference when asked to comment on the progress by Iran and Saudi Arabia to reopen their diplomatic missions following an agreement that was reached between the two countries in March on the normalization of their bilateral ties, the semi-official Mehr news agency has reported.

   The three diplomatic missions are Iran’s embassy in Riyadh, a consulate general in Jeddah and a representative office to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, Kanaani was quoted as saying.

   Kanaani stressed that the two countries are in the early stages of resuming their bilateral relations and reopening their embassies, adding that Iran’s technical team is currently based in Saudi Arabia and laying the groundwork.

   He said he is optimistic that the two countries’ embassies will start their full operations as planned in accordance with their agreement.

   The two countries had carried out good coordination in a humanitarian issue in their first steps toward the resumption of the bilateral diplomatic activities, said Kanaani, adding that the evacuation of 65 Iranian nationals from Sudan and their transfer to Iran via the Saudi port city of Jeddah was a positive development.

   Regarding an upcoming visit by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Saudi Arabia, Kanaani said Tehran has received an official invitation from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and has responded to it officially.

   At a press conference held in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Friday, Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian confirmed that he and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud have also invited each other for official visits.

   Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a deal in March to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions in the two countries within two months.

   On April 6, the two countries announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with immediate effect.  

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