Nearly one week after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman invited Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi to visit Riyadh, Iran welcomed the invitation and reciprocally invite Saudi’s King to visit Tehran.
On this Monday and in an interview with Al Jazeera news network, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian announced Iran’s plan to formally send a letter of invitation to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to visit Tehran.
Iran’s intention for inviting King Salman over to Tehran is said to have come following a letter from King Salman, in which he invited Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi to visit Riyadh after the historical deal was inked between the two countries back on March 10.
“In a letter to President Raisi, H.E Salman bin Abdulaziz the King of Saudi Arabia welcomed the deal btw the 2 brotherly countries, invited him to Riyadh &called for strong economic/regional cooperation. Raisi welcomed the invitation&stressed Iran’s readiness to expand cooperation,” Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, wrote in a tweet on March 19, adding that “Raisi welcomed the invitation”.
AmirAbdollahian also said during his interview with Al Jazeera that the two countries had agreed to hold a meeting at the foreign minister level and that three possible locations had been proposed. He, however, did not name the locations, nor said of the exact time of the meeting.
More normalizations with neighbors are on the way for Iran
AmirAbdollahian also expressed hope that steps would be made to improve ties with Bahrain, a close Saudi ally that followed Riyadh in severing diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016. Saudi Arabia cut ties in January 2016 after demonstrators stormed its embassy in Tehran. That was after Riyadh had executed the prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was convicted of terror-related offenses. Since then, tensions between the Sunni- and Shia-led neighbors have often been high, with each regarding the other as a threatening power seeking regional dominance. They have been on opposing sides of several regional conflicts, including the civil wars in Syria and Yemen.
“We hope that some obstacles between Iran and Bahrain will be removed and we will take basic steps to reopen the embassies,” AmirAbdollahian said. Although Bahrain has not responded to the comments yet, the Persian Gulf country earlier welcomed the Iran-Saudi agreement to restore diplomatic ties.
In a statement issued a day after the historic agreement was inked in China’s Beijing on March 10, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the deal under the auspices of China, Bahrain’s news agency reported. Good to mention that other regional countries including Turkey, Oman, Egypt, and Qatar also appreciated the deal and thanked China for its positive role in contributing toward reaching the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia after years of tensions. Iran’s Foreign Minister also expressed a willingness to resume or improve relations with other regional Arab rivals, including Jordan and Egypt.
Since the new government in Iran came to power nearly two years ago, Iran has been restoring ties with many of its neighbors. In September, for example, Iran welcomed an Emirati ambassador after a six-years of diplomatic absence, and a month earlier it said Kuwait had sent its first ambassador to Tehran since 2016. Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani also held talks with Emirati President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi early in March, another sign of the shifting relations between Iran and its regional neighbors.