Home Middle East Tehran Says Saudi Arabia Extends Invitation to President Raisi for Visit

Tehran Says Saudi Arabia Extends Invitation to President Raisi for Visit

Iran's President Raisi Invited by Saudi Arabia for Official Visit after Diplomatic Relations Restored


Saudi Arabia has reportedly invited Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi for an official visit, just over a week since the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic relations. A letter from King Salman is said to have extended the invitation, although there has been no official confirmation from Saudi Arabia. The history between the two nations has been characterised by hostility, but China’s involvement in brokering the thaw is expected to bring a change to the region’s geopolitics.
Mohammad Jamshidi, a senior Iranian official, tweeted about the invitation, saying that President Raisi had welcomed it and highlighted Iran’s readiness to expand cooperation. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also confirmed that the two countries had agreed to hold a meeting at foreign minister level, but did not disclose any further details about the meeting’s venue or date.
The recent improvement in bilateral relations has come as a surprise and appears to be gathering momentum, according to the BBC’s Middle East Editor, Sebastian Usher. Both countries have agreed to reopen embassies within two months and to re-establish trade and security relations. This development has been cautiously welcomed by many, including the US and the United Nations, after previous attempts at reconciliation had failed.
Saudi Arabia had cut ties with Iran in January 2016 after demonstrators stormed its embassy in Tehran following the execution of the prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Since then, tensions between the Sunni- and Shia-led nations have 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.
Mr Amir-Abdollahian has also expressed Iran’s desire to improve ties with other regional Arab rivals, including Bahrain, a close ally of Saudi Arabia that followed Riyadh in severing diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016. Bahrain has not yet responded to these comments, but earlier welcomed the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic ties. Iran has also expressed a willingness to resume or improve relations with other regional Arab rivals, including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
The possible thaw between Iran and Saudi Arabia could have significant implications for the region’s geopolitics. If it leads to a decrease in tensions and a strengthening of economic and political ties, it could help to promote stability and security in the region. However, much will depend on whether the two nations can overcome their historical animosity and work together towards common goals.

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