From Foes to Friends: Iran and Saudi Arabia’s Diplomatic Embrace
WANA (SEP 10) – In a remarkable turn of events, Iran and Saudi Arabia have recently embarked on a renewed diplomatic relations and cooperation journey.
After years of tension and separation, both nations strive to write a new chapter in their bilateral relations, walking towards a new era of collaboration in various fields.
One significant development in this newfound friendship is the resumption of civilian flights between the two countries, symbolizing the growing confidence between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Another new and exciting step in the unique situation between the two countries is that the Saudi Pro League clubs will travel to Iran to participate in the Asian Champions League, a historic move since games between teams from both nations have not been played on a home-and-away basis since 2016.
Naser Kanin, the spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry, expressed optimism about the evolving relations, stating, “Considering the new relations between the two countries, the conditions must be different (the condition of sports and games), and we hope to see the game held in the national fields of the two countries.” Said Kanani in his weekly presser on August 29th. These words reflect the aspirations of both nations for greater collaboration in various spheres.
This diplomatic thaw has also paved the way for high-level visits. Iran’s President, Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, is set to visit Riyadh, marking the first such visit by an Iranian president since 2007. The exchange of invitations between President Raisi and the King of Saudi Arabia further underscores the commitment to strengthening ties.
Notably, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan’s visit to Tehran in June 2023 was a historic milestone, marking the first visit by a Saudi Foreign Minister to Iran in seven years. During his visit, Minister Farhan engaged in discussions with Iranian officials, including President Raisi and Amir Abdullahian, further emphasizing the intent to rebuild bridges of diplomacy.
In another diplomatic step, Saudi Arabia appointed its first ambassador to Iran since the resumption of diplomatic relations. Ambassador Abdullah bin Saud al-Anzi arrived in Tehran on September 5th to start his mission. He emphasized Saudi leadership’s commitment to strengthening ties with Iran through enhanced communication and frequent meetings between the two countries. Ambassador Al-Anzi wasted no time in presenting his credentials to Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, on September 10th, signifying the eagerness to facilitate diplomatic dialogue.
The resumption of full diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran last March, facilitated by China, has been a turning point in the history of Iran and Saudi Arabia’s relations. This positive shift follows the 2016 crack of ties by Saudi Arabia after protesters attacked its embassy in Tehran over Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi summarized the significance of this diplomatic relations, stating, “The cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, along with increased cooperation among regional countries in both bilateral and multilateral dimensions, will elevate the region’s position in regional and global affairs, while also diminishing foreign interventions.”
As Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to nurture their blossoming connections, the world watches with hope and anticipation for a more peaceful and prosperous Middle East.
WANA / Writing by S, Khezri