Iran officially reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Tuesday, months after the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties under a deal brokered by China.
“We consider today an important day in the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Bigdeli said at the flag-raising ceremony.
He added that the cooperation between the countries is entering a new era.
The embassy reopening will ease travel between Iran and Saudi Arabia as they seek to restore direct flights, boost trade and rebuild business ties.
Although Saudi Arabia has yet to reopen its embassy in Tehran, the restoration of diplomatic ties will make it easier for Iranian pilgrims to apply for Saudi visas for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said on Monday that Iranian diplomats have started helping Iranian pilgrims for Hajj. Iran’s consulate in the Saudi port city of Jeddah will also reopen this week, he said.
On March 10, after several days of intense talks hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, they agreed to restore diplomatic ties and reopen their embassies seven years after severing their ties.
In a joint statement after signing the deal, Tehran and Riyadh highlighted the need to respect each other’s national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in each other’s internal affairs.
A security cooperation agreement was signed in April 2001 and another agreement was signed in May 1998 to enhance cooperation in economic, trade, investment, technology, science, culture, sports and youth affairs.
Last month, Iran appointed Alireza Enayati as Iran’s representative in Riyadh. Inayati previously served as Iran’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Director General of Persian Gulf Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On May 11, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian announced that Saudi Arabia had appointed a new ambassador to Tehran in line with a Chinese-brokered March agreement between the two countries to revive ties.