Riyadh, Tehran plan to reopen diplomatic missions by May 9: Diplomat
An Iranian diplomat says Saudi Arabia and Iran are seeking to pave the way for putting their diplomatic missions back on track.
Saudi and Iranian authorities are consulting and cooperating to pave the way for the reopening of their diplomatic missions, the Director General of Iran's Foreign Ministry Office for Gulf Affairs, Alireza Enayati, confirmed on Monday.
Enayati told IRNA that Iran is currently hosting a Saudi delegation, pointing out that the Saudi diplomats visited Tehran and then headed on Friday to the city of Mashhad to inspect the Kingdom's consulate in the city.
The Iranian diplomat added that the Saudi delegation will return to Riyadh and another delegation will visit Iran to discuss the reopening of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad.
"The restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries has already been declared, and we are seeking to pave the way for making the diplomatic missions back on track," Enayati said.
He expressed hope that the Saudi embassy and consulate would be reopened in Iran before May 9, adding that "we try to reopen the diplomatic missions in Iran before the important Islamic ritual in order to facilitate issues concerning the Iranian pilgrims."
On Wednesday, an Iranian delegation landed in Saudi Arabia to finalize talks over the reopening of embassies between the two countries and the resumption of the work of the diplomatic mission.
The visit came just days after the Saudi delegation arrived in Iran to prepare for the reopening of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad.
Last week, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told Iranian news agency ISNA that initial steps to appoint ambassadors between Saudi Arabia and Iran are currently taking place.
These measures are carried out within the framework of the March 10 Chinese-brokered agreement on restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"The recent agreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia will have a positive effect on boosting cooperation in order to improve peace and stability and on strengthening economic and trade relations between the two countries and in the region," Kanaani pointed out.
A month after Iran and Saudi Arabia struck a deal to restore diplomatic relations under Chinese mediation, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, met a couple of weeks ago in Beijing for the first meeting between their two countries' top diplomats in seven years.
"The technical teams will continue coordination to examine the ways of expanding cooperation including the resumption of flights and bilateral visits of official and private sector delegations and facilitating the granting of visas for the citizens of the two countries," the joint statement read.
In a related context, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister confirmed that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi accepted the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to visit Riyadh, adding that the visit will be implemented according to the Iranian President's schedule.
On April 3, King Salman expressed his welcome to the agreement to resume diplomatic relations between the two countries and invited Raisi for an official visit to Riyadh to initiate and develop bilateralism between the two countries.
In early April, The Wall Street Journal reported that CIA Director William Burns met with Saudi leaders and expressed his frustration with Saudi officials.
According to the paper, Burns told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman that the US felt blindsided by Riyadh’s rapprochement with rivals Iran and Syria under the auspices of Washington’s global rivals.