Saudi, Iran foreign ministers meet in Tehran

In a groundbreaking development, the foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia convened in Tehran on Saturday, signalling a thaw in relations after seven years of animosity between the two nations.

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, extended a warm welcome to his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, at the foreign ministry. The high-ranking Saudi diplomat also held discussions with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who recently completed a Latin American tour.

The ministers expressed optimism over the restoration of diplomatic relations, highlighting the significance of this rapprochement in bolstering regional security.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not associate security with militarism. For us, security embodies a holistic concept encompassing political, economic, cultural, trade, and social dimensions among all regional countries,” stated Amirabdollahian at a press conference.

He elaborated that the dialogue encompassed trade relations, joint investments, and facilitating Saudi tourists and pilgrims interested in visiting Iran.

Prince Faisal accentuated that “mutual respect, non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, and adherence to the United Nations Charter” would form the cornerstone of their renewed bilateral relations, with the objective of safeguarding the interests of both nations.

During the meeting, the issue of maritime security and curtailing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was also addressed.

In March, the two nations revealed that they had struck an agreement, facilitated by China, to reinstate diplomatic relations after a hiatus spanning seven years.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi did not mince words in his criticism of Israel during the meeting. “Only the foes of Islam, spearheaded by the Zionist regime (Israel), are aggrieved by the advancements in bilateral and regional cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Raisi asserted, as reported by the Iranian state news agency, IRNA.

The Saudi foreign ministry revealed that the dialogue between Prince Faisal and President Raisi was centred on assessing bilateral relations and investigating opportunities to enhance and broaden cooperation in diverse sectors.

Both dignitaries also exchanged perspectives on the latest developments in the regional and global landscape and underscored the ongoing endeavours in these domains.

Prince Faisal characterised the talks as “positive,” emphasising the imperative of non-interference in domestic affairs. He conveyed Riyadh’s aspiration that the restoration of relations with Tehran would have a positive ripple effect regionally and globally.

In a landmark deal inked in March, Riyadh and Tehran agreed to reopen embassies and consulates within each other’s borders and enforce security and economic cooperation agreements established over two decades ago.

Saudi Arabia terminated diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 in the wake of an assault on its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad by pro-regime protesters.

While Iran reinstated its embassy in Riyadh earlier this month, Saudi Arabia has not announced a specific date for reopening its embassy in Tehran.

Image Credit: Vahid Salemi/AP Photo