TEHRAN, Iran — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat arrived in the Iranian capital on Saturday, the latest step in the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two Mideast rivals, Iranian state media reported.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan was officially welcomed by his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran TV said.
He also carried a message from the Saudi king to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. The two are due to meet later Saturday.
Prince Faisal is expected to officially inaugurate the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran later on Saturday. Until the mission is completed, the employees are working from a Tehran hotel, Iran TV said.
Both nations reopened their diplomatic missions in recent weeks.
Last week, Iran reopened its embassy in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has yet to confirm when it will open its embassy in Tehran or its pick for ambassador, although a Saudi delegation visited the Iranian capital in April.
In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations after seven years of tension.
The foreign minister of #SaudiArabia has arrived in #Iran. This is the first visit of a Saudi foreign minister to Tehran since 2006. Saud bin Faisal Al Saud met with Khamenei in that year.https://t.co/llCYtG2Dbm pic.twitter.com/9WFxFiXBXf
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) June 17, 2023
It was a major diplomatic breakthrough brokered by China, lowering the chance of further conflict between Riyadh and Tehran — both directly and in proxy conflicts around the region.
Saudi Arabia severed relations with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran and consulate in the northwestern city of Mashhad were attacked during protests over Riyadh’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.