Saudi embassy in Iran resumes operations seven years after ties severed

Vehicles drive past the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran on April 5, 2023. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Vehicles drive past the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran on April 5, 2023. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran has resumed operations, state media in Iran reports, following a thaw in ties seven years after the mission was closed.

Shiite-dominated Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen their respective embassies following a China-brokered deal announced in March. The long-time regional rivals severed ties in 2016 after Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked during protests over Riyadh’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

“The embassy of Saudi Arabia in the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially commenced its activities” and has been operating since Sunday, the official news agency IRNA says, quoting an “informed source” at Iran’s foreign ministry.

There has been no official confirmation from Riyadh on the move.

In June, Iran marked the reopening of its embassy in Riyadh with a flag-raising ceremony.

Iranian media had previously attributed the delay in reopening the Saudi embassy to the poor condition of the building, which was damaged during the 2016 protests. The reports said Saudi diplomats would work from a luxury hotel in the Iranian capital pending the completion of the works.

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