Iran has proposed locations for Saudi Arabia meeting, FM says

Tehran and Riyadh set to reopen embassies within two months

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdoulahian speaks during a press conference in Tehran. AFP
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Iran has proposed three locations for a meeting between Tehran and Riyadh's foreign ministers following a deal to re-establish diplomatic relations.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said he will meet his Saudi counterpart “in the near future” and delegations will begin measures to reopen embassies, according to state media reports published on Sunday.

Tehran has proposed three locations for a meeting, he added, without disclosing any further details.

Tehran and Riyadh announced in March a deal to re-establish ties for the first time since 2016, when relations broke down following the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite cleric and ensuing attacks on Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran.

The agreement was the result of years of talks brokered in Baghdad and China, reiterated by Mr Amirabdollahian on Sunday.

Five rounds of negotiations were held in Baghdad, confirmed in 2021 by Iraq's then-president Barham Salih.

Saudi Arabia has now said it wants to invest “quickly” in Iran.

“There are a lot of opportunities for Saudi investments in Iran. We don't see impediments, as long as the terms of any agreement would be respected,” Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said on Wednesday.

Iran has said it hopes to forge closer ties with other countries, including Bahrain, as part of a “balanced foreign policy” following the deal.

“I hope that some obstacles that exist between Tehran and Manama will be removed,” said Mr Amirabdollahian. A preliminary agreement has been signed between technical delegations from both sides, he added.

Iran has already said it hopes to mend relations with Egypt amid warming ties with Saudi Arabia.

It also comes as Tehran steps up co-operation with Baghdad, signing an agreement on Sunday to bolster border security.

Iran has targeted exiled Iranian Kurdish groups operating in mountainous area of northern Iraq, claiming they foment unrest back at home.

Updated: March 19, 2023, 3:56 PM
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