Détente? Iran To Open Interests Office In Saudi Arabia

Iran plans to open an interests office in Saudi Arabia to undertake diplomatic affairs, Tasnim news agency reported Saturday.

Bahram Qasemi, spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, pointed to the existing problems between Iran and Saudi Arabia, while voicing Iran’s readiness for negotiations with its main Gulf rival.

Tehran welcomes mediations by the third countries to settle problems with Riyadh, despite Saudi Arabia’s apparent reluctance to mend ties with Iran, Qasemi noted.

“We believe that the problems originate mostly from Saudi Arabia,” he said.

On the future of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh, the Iranian spokesman said Switzerland has been representing Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia under an agreement reached with Bern eight months ago.

“There have been advances made in the past two weeks, and I believe there are signs that (Iran’s own) interests office would open and become operational in Saudi Arabia”, he was quoted as saying.

Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016, following the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad were stormed by angry Iranian protesters, who set the diplomatic missions ablaze for the execution of top Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia.

Besides, Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015, to support the government of internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced into exile in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia.

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