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Iranian, Saudi FMs hold second call in a week on 'constructive' relations

Iran may also soon resume relations with Bahrain following mediation by Oman.
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud arrives for the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on July 8, 2022. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers spoke again on Sunday as relations between the two countries continue to improve following their China-brokered agreement to resume diplomatic relations this month. The call is the second between the two in four days.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Sunday, following a call on Thursday. The two discussed “common issues” and agreed to meet during the current Islamic holy month of Ramadan, according to the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 



Ramadan will end during the third week of April. 

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred to the “constructive path” of Iranian-Saudi relations in a tweet. 

Background: Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on March 10 to resume diplomatic relations in an agreement brokered by China. Per the agreement, the two countries will reopen their respective embassies within two months.

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran in 2016 after a mob attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia and Iran have long been on opposite sides of regional conflicts — most notably Yemen — and Saudi Arabia has further expressed concern about Iran’s nuclear energy and missile programs. The two countries began reconciliation talks in 2021 that were mediated by Iraq

Why it matters: The frequency of the calls between Prince Faisal and Amir-Abdollahian appear to indicate that diplomacy is progressing. The upcoming meeting between the two diplomats would be the first for the two men. Prince Faisal became foreign minister in 2019, while Amir-Abdollahian assumed his position in 2021 — both several years after the countries broke off relations. 

Know more: Iran and Bahrain may also resume relations soon. Earlier this month, Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran and Bahrain agreed to visit the embassies of each other’s countries. Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq Al Said proposed Iran and Bahrain resume relations during his visit to Manama in October, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. 

Bahrain also cut ties with Iran in 2016, following Saudi Arabia’s lead. Bahrain and Iran have particularly difficult relations, as Bahrain accuses Iran of instigating opposition among its majority Shiite population. Bahrain is politically aligned with Saudi Arabia. 

Amir-Abdollahian also spoke with his Omani counterpart, Badr Albusaidi, last Thursday. The two discussed bilateral and regional issues, as well as the “positive reception of the Iranian-Saudi agreement,” according to a statement from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

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