Tehran, Saudis looking at better days

September 5, 2017

TEHRAN – It seems Tehran and Riyadh are expecting a resumption of relations in the near future, after a couple of years of particularly tense ties.

On Tuesday, Rai al-Youm quoted senior Saudi officials as saying they were looking forward to reopening the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

On the same day, the Supreme Leader’s special envoy in Hajj affairs, Ali Qazi Askar, said “it is a good time for negotiations to resolve bilateral concerns,” hinting at recent developments in the area of Hajj, where Iran resumed sending pilgrims to Mecca after a two-year halt.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has confirmed it has issued visa for Saudis to visit their diplomatic buildings in Tehran and Mashhad. The ministry also said an Iranian delegation will visit Saudi Arabia. It said the exchange visits will most probably take place at the end of the Hajj ritual.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran after an attack on its embassy in Tehran on January 2, 2016. The 2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran was a mob action by a crowd of protesters who stormed the embassy in Tehran and Saudi consulate in Mashhad. The attackers cited the execution of a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia as the reason for their action.

The attacks were condemned by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Hassan Rouhani. On January 24, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i, the spokesman for the Judiciary, announced that around 100 people involved in the attack are in custody by the authorities.

Iran also stopped sending pilgrims on Hajj after a huge stampede in Mecca which took thousands of lives, including near 464 Iranians. Tehran said the tragedy was outright result of Saudi negligence and irresponsibility.

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