In a major breakthrough for regional stability, Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to reopen their embassies in each other’s capitals before May 19, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency. The announcement comes after both countries took steps last month to restore diplomatic ties, which were severed in 2016 following a series of disputes over Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
The restoration of diplomatic relations was facilitated by China, which hosted negotiations between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Beijing in March.
The two sides agreed to cooperate on various issues of mutual interest, such as trade, security and energy.
The reopening of embassies is seen as a sign of goodwill and confidence-building between the two regional rivals, who have been locked in a proxy war for years. The move is also expected to ease tensions in the Middle East and pave the way for more dialogue and cooperation on regional and international challenges.
The decision to reopen embassies before May 19 coincides with the deadline for Iran to extend its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its nuclear program. Iran has been in talks with world powers in Vienna since April to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018. Saudi Arabia has expressed its support for a comprehensive and lasting solution that ensures Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear energy and prevents it from acquiring nuclear weapons.