Iran’s embassy in Saudi Arabia reopened its doors on Wednesday for the first time in seven years, as part of a pact to re-establish contacts that might calm a long-standing enmity that has fueled wars across the Middle East according to a media witness.
The huge gates of the Iranian embassy’s property in Riyadh were open, and a crew was checking its grounds. A white truck was observed approaching the gate according to a reporter.
The diplomatic mission was established only hours after the Iranian foreign ministry announced the arrival of a technical team in the country.
“The Iranian delegation will take the necessary steps in Riyadh and Jeddah to establish the embassy and consulate general,” said Nasser Kanaani, spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Saudi Arabia severed relations with Iran in 2016, when its embassy in Tehran was stormed amid a disagreement between the two nations over Riyadh’s murder of a Shi’ite preacher. Following that, the monarchy urged Iranian diplomats to leave within 48 hours and withdrew its embassy workers from Tehran.
The relationship had deteriorated a year earlier, when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined in Yemen’s conflict, in which the Iran-aligned Houthi movement had deposed a Saudi-backed government and seized control of the capital, Sanaa.
Riyadh accused Iran of equipping the Houthis, who then employed armed drones and ballistic missiles to target Saudi cities. In 2019, the monarchy openly accused the Islamic Republic for an assault on Aramco oil facilities, which cut off half of the country’s oil production.
Iran has refuted the allegations.
The animosity between the two regional arch-rivals and big oil producers fueled regional instability. In an agreement negotiated by China, they agreed to end their diplomatic schism and resume their diplomatic posts last month.
Foreign ministers from both nations met in Beijing earlier this month for the first official meeting of their senior diplomats.
Saudi officials also arrived in Iran on Saturday to discuss steps for reopening Riyadh’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad, according to the Saudi foreign ministry.