Iran to reopen diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia this week -official

FILE PHOTO: People stand outside the Iranian embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 12, 2023. REUTERS/Aziz El Yaakoubi

DUBAI (Reuters) -Iran will reopen its diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia this week, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday, several months after Tehran and Riyadh agreed to end years of antagonism under a Chinese-brokered deal.

In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to re-establish relations between the regional rivals whose hostility had threatened stability and security in the Middle East and helped fuel regional conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

"To implement the agreement ..., Iran's embassy in Riyadh, our Consulate General in Jeddah and our office to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be officially reopened on Tuesday and Wednesday," spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.

Last month, Tehran named Alireza Enayati as its ambassador to Saudi Arabia, which had severed relations in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute over Sunni Muslim-ruled Riyadh's execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric.

The relationship had begun to deteriorate a year earlier after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in Yemen's war, where the Iran-aligned Houthi movement had ousted a Saudi-backed government and taken over the capital Sanaa.

Riyadh accused Tehran of arming the Houthis, who went on to strike Saudi cities with armed drones and ballistic missiles. In 2019, the kingdom blamed an attack on Aramco oil facilities, which temporarily knocked out half of its oil output, directly on the Islamic Republic. Iran denied those accusations.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom;Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Mark Heinrich)

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