Iranian President to visit Saudi Arabia


Tehran: Less than a month since Tehran and Riyadh agreed to restore diplomatic relations, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has accepted an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to visit the kingdom, a top official confirmed here.

Iran’s first vice president Mohammad Mokhber made the remarks on Monday while he was asked by the media respond to the Saudi King’s invitation to Raisi of visiting Riyadh, Xinhua news agency reported.

China, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced on March 10 that the latter two had reached a deal which includes the agreement to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months.

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On March 19, Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian President’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, had confirmed that the Saudi king sent the invitation letter to Raisi to visit Riyadh.

In a social media post, Jamshidi had said the monarch said in the letter that he welcomed the deal between the two “brotherly countries” on the normalisation of bilateral ties and called for strong economic and regional cooperation between Riyadh and Tehran.

The two nations have also announced they will reopen embassies within two months and re-establish trade and security relations.

Saudi Arabia cut ties in January 2016 after demonstrators stormed its embassy in Tehran after Riyadh had executed the prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was convicted of terror-related offences.

Since then, tensions between the Sunni- and Shia-led neighbours have often 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.

Also on Monday, it was announced that Iran and Saudi Arabia will open a joint chamber of commerce soon.

Keyvan Kashefi, a member of the presiding board of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), said that Tehran plans to begin the exchange of business delegations with Saudi Arabia immediately after the reopening of the embassies in the two countries and the reinstatement of their ambassadors.

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( With inputs from )

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