Iran-Saudi Talks Advance as Iranian Diplomats Receive Visas
(Bloomberg) -- Iran and Saudi Arabia appeared to have made progress in their efforts to repair ties as three Iranian diplomats have been granted visas to be based in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
Speaking to reporters alongside his Iraqi counterpart, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Baghdad-brokered talks with the kingdom had gone well, and officials in Riyadh responded positively to “constructive proposals” made by Tehran.
These included re-rebuilding official diplomatic links by granting visas for three Iranian diplomats to be based at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a Jeddah-based body consisting of 57 Muslim countries.
“Saudi Arabia has agreed to grant visas to three Iranian diplomats as part of a routine procedure for representatives of a member state of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Jeddah,” a Saudi foreign minister official said.
Amirabdollahian said the travel permits were issued last week and that a new round of meetings with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad to be held soon would make arrangements for the “next steps in the talks.” They include official visits to embassies which have been closed for almost six years.
Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was mobbed and set on fire in response to it executing a prominent Shiite cleric. Their disastrous proxy war in Yemen and bitter standoff over the 2015 nuclear deal have also helped touch off attacks on oil tankers and energy installations in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
At the same press conference Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein told reporters that “the time has come” for Iran and the U.S. to start negotiating directly over the future of the nuclear deal and said his country was ready to facilitate that dialog.
It’s not clear whether Hussein’s proposal reflected any developments in the current talks to revive the accord deal that are due to resume in Vienna on Dec. 27.
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