Iran sends three diplomats to Jeddah after six years

January 17, 2022 - 14:5

TEHRAN – After six years three Iranian diplomats have started their work in Iran’s office in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced on December 23 last year that Saudi Arabia has issued visa for three Iranian diplomats to be deployed at the OIC. Amir Abdollahian broke the story in a joint press conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, whose country has been acting as an intermediary between Iran and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran after a number of angry protestors attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran in early January 2016 in protest to the Saudi execution of prominent cleric Nimr al-Nimr. A number of protestors also attacked the Saudi consulate in Mashhad at the time.

Also, in a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Amir Abdollahian said the issuance of visa for the diplomats by the Saudi Kingdom is a and “good” sign.

“Soon our diplomats will be stationed at the office of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah. I think our diplomats will be deployed soon, which is a good sign,” the foreign minister said.

Jeddah is the permanent venue of the 57-member organization.

The last Iranian permanent representative to the OIC was Mahdi Hamze’ei, along with other Iranian diplomats.

According to ISNA, the OIC foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Jeddah over the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic premises in Tehran. The participants issued a statement in which they condemned attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran and said attacks run contrary to the Geneva and Vienna conventions in protecting foreign diplomatic missions.

In their statement the foreign ministers also said the attacks on diplomatic centers go against the OIC and UN charters which are established to foster friendly relations, mutual respect and cooperation between member states.

Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, a senior Iranian diplomat, who had participated at the emergency meeting said Iran has condemned the attacks and launched an investigation to bring those involved in the attacks to the book.

At the time senior Iranian officials including the Leader of the Islamic Revolution censured attack on the Saudi diplomatic premises.

A member of the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee announced on Saturday that relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are being revived and the groundwork is being prepared for Iran and Saudi Arabia to reopen their embassies in Riyadh and Tehran.

“Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are being revived and embassies are preparing to reopen, which has important implications for reducing regional tensions and increasing global cohesion,” Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi wrote on his Twitter page.

Jahanabadi added “security institutions and the media must watch out for the evils of the Zionists and the stupidity of the extremists” as Iran and the Saudi Arabia are taking steps to normalize ties.

According to Amir Abdollahian, Iranian negotiators have held four rounds of “positive and constructive” talks with the relevant Saudi officials in Iraq. 

“Due to the holding of parliamentary elections in Iraq and the fact that the Iraqi governing body and the heads of the three branches are all involved in forming a new government in the future, the role played by Iraqis was naturally affected by the electoral atmosphere. What we have stated as our official position is that whenever the Saudi side wants the relations between the two countries to return to normal, we are ready and welcome the reopening of our embassies and consulates,” Amir Abdollahian told Al Jazeera.

He added, “We are also planning to send our pilgrims for Hajj, if the coronavirus conditions allow, and again, if the conditions allow, even for the Umrah pilgrimage. The Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran also has its own instructions for this issue. I personally think that the Saudi side still needs more time to be able to reach a conclusion and a decision. We have announced our readiness for a new round of talks in Baghdad.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia started direct talks through Iraq’s mediation to restore ties during Hassan Rouhani’s the presidency. However, efforts to revive the ties have intensified during the rule of President Ebrahim Raisi who has declared cementing ties with neighbors and regional countries as a foreign policy priority.

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