Saudi, Iranian foreign ministers vow to meet in near future
Saudi Arabia and Iran are dashing forward with a China-brokered rapprochement deal that has raised alarms throughout the west
By News Desk - March 23 2023

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, have agreed to meet “soon” and pave the way for re-opening embassies as part of a China-brokered rapprochement deal.

The agreement was made during a phone conversation on 22 March to mark the beginning of Ramadan, which begins Thursday in both countries.

According to Iranian state media, Amir-Abdollahian emphasized the Islamic Republic’s readiness to strengthen relations with Saudi Arabia during the call.

The in-person meeting between the two foreign ministers is the next major step in a celebrated rapprochement deal announced on 10 March and intended to restore diplomatic ties seven years after they were severed.

The deal is expected to see Tehran and Riyadh reopen their diplomatic missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago.

Earlier this week, Tehran announced that President Ebrahim Raisi was invited to Riyadh by King Salman.

The news was confirmed by Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian President’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs, who tweeted:  “His Excellency Salman bin Abdulaziz, the King of Saudi Arabia, in a letter to Ayatollah Raisi, while welcoming the agreement between the two brotherly countries, invited him to make an official visit to Riyadh and called for the strengthening of economic and regional cooperation.”

The landmark deal has been hailed across the Arab world, with senior officials calling it a “win-win for everyone” and “an important step [towards] achieving stability in the region.”

However, the deal drew a completely opposite reaction in the west, with Washington downplaying China’s momentous achievement and questioning whether Iran would “hold up their end.”

The deal also caused alarm in Israel, where the far-right government blamed the combined “weakness” of the previous government and US President Joe Biden for the agreement between Tehran and Riyadh.

“There was a feeling of American and Israeli weakness, so Saudi Arabia turned to other channels,” the unnamed senior Israeli official told reporters last week.

Most Popular