Kuwait has appointed an ambassador to Iran, both countries said on Sunday, more than six years after recalling its top envoy to Tehran in solidarity with Saudi Arabia after it severed ties with the Islamic Republic in 2016.
Ambassador Bader Abdullah Al-Munaikh handed his credentials to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran on Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry said on its website. Kuwait’s foreign ministry confirmed Munaikh was appointed envoy to Iran.
Iran already has an ambassador in Kuwait.
The move comes as Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia works to improve ties with Shi’ite Iran, with which it has been locked in a rivalry that has played out across conflicts in the region. Saudi Arabia and Iran have had no diplomatic relations for six years, but have held talks, hosted by Iraq, since April last year in a bid to mend ties.
Riyadh broke off ties with Tehran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Iran after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shi’ite cleric.
Kuwait recalled its envoy to Iran as other Gulf Arab states downgraded ties to rally behind Riyadh. Kuwait has maintained relatively good relations with Tehran under a foreign policy balancing ties with its larger neighbours.
The United Arab Emirates is working to send an ambassador to Iran as it seeks to rebuild bridges following years of animosity, a senior Emirati official said last month. Also in July, the UAE said it was “considering” appointing an ambassador to Tehran, which Iran said it expected “soon”.
Saudi Arabia launched direct talks with Iran last year. The kingdom’s foreign minister has said there has been some progress in five rounds of Iraq-mediated discussions, but “not enough”.
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