Iranian President Raisi to Visit Saudi Arabia After Historic Deal

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has accepted an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to visit the kingdom following a historic deal to restore diplomatic ties between the two regional rivals. The Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, Mohammad Jamshidi, announced on Twitter that Raisi had welcomed the invitation and stressed Iran’s readiness to expand cooperation.

The two countries announced on March 10 that they had reached a Chinese-brokered agreement to resume relations after seven years of hostility and tension. The deal was hailed as a breakthrough for peace and stability in the Middle East, where Iran and Saudi Arabia have been involved in proxy wars and competing for influence.

The deal is expected to see Iran and Saudi Arabia reopen their embassies and missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday that the two countries had agreed to hold a meeting between their top diplomats soon and had suggested three locations for the talks.

The detente between Iran, which is under US sanctions over its nuclear program, and Saudi Arabia, which is a close ally of Washington, could have significant implications for regional and international issues. The two countries support opposite sides in several conflicts, such as Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. They also have divergent views on the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which Saudi Arabia has criticized as inadequate.

The reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been welcomed by other Gulf countries, some of which followed Riyadh’s lead in cutting ties with Tehran in 2016. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait recently restored relations with Iran , while Bahrain said it would be open to doing so after the deal with Saudi Arabia.


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