TEHRAN - Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore ties and to reopen respective diplomatic missions after talks in China, state media in both countries reported Friday, seven years after relations were severed.
Riyadh cut ties with Tehran after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic in 2016 following the Saudi execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
“ Following talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months,” the official Iranian news agency IRNA said, citing a joint statement.
The official Saudi Press Agency also published the statement.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, had travelled to Beijing on Monday for “intensive negotiations with his Saudi counterpart in China in order to finally resolve the problems between Tehran and Riyadh”, IRNA said. Iran and Saudi Arabia support rival sides in several conflict zones across the Middle East, including in Yemen where the Huthi rebels are backed by Tehran, and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government. Iraq, a neighbour to both countries, had hosted several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia since April 2021.
Those encounters were held at a relatively low level, involving security and intelligence officials.
In Friday’s statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia said they “thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting the talks held between the two sides in 2021 and 2022 as well as the leaders and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and supporting the talks held in that country.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan on Friday warmly welcomed the normalization of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The normalisation of relations between the two countries was facilitated by China.
The Foreign Office Spokesperson, in a statement, said: “Pakistan firmly believes that this important diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and stability in the region and beyond