Iran Invites Saudi Arabia’s King to Visit as Bitter Rivalry Recedes

  • The longtime regional rivals agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by China

The Wall Street Journal
Published17 Apr 2023, 07:25 PM IST
This picture shows a poster depicting King Abdulaziz bin Saud (L), the founder of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C), Crown Prince Mohammed in Riyadh on April 16, 2023. - Saudi Arabia has put a second four-percent chunk of shares of the Aramco energy giant, worth tens of billions of dollars, under the control of the country's sovereign wealth fund, state media said. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)
This picture shows a poster depicting King Abdulaziz bin Saud (L), the founder of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C), Crown Prince Mohammed in Riyadh on April 16, 2023. - Saudi Arabia has put a second four-percent chunk of shares of the Aramco energy giant, worth tens of billions of dollars, under the control of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, state media said. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)(AFP)

Iran has invited Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz to visit the country, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday, a sign of the rapidly improving ties between two longtime regional rivals.

The invitation comes after the two governments agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations last month in a deal brokered by China, which ended seven years of estrangement and jolted the geopolitics of the oil-rich region.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani announced the invitation at a regular press conference Monday. There was no immediate response from Riyadh. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has already accepted an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia but no date has been set.

A visit by the Saudi monarch to Iran would be a major signal of the improved relations between the countries. The 87-year-old King Salman has health problems and hasn’t traveled outside the kingdom since 2019. His son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the kingdom’s day-to-day ruler.

The two countries, separated by the Persian Gulf, have been divided for decades by longstanding security and sectarian tensions that have fueled their competition for regional dominance. The agreement to restore diplomatic relations addresses some of the most sensitive issues between the two, including Iranian support for Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Ties were cut in 2016 after the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was overrun amid protests over the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric by the Saudi government.

After their top diplomats met in Beijing earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore flights between their countries and resume government and private-sector visits. An Iranian technical delegation arrived in Riyadh last week to prepare to reopen the country’s embassy ahead of the Muslim hajj pilgrimage at the end of June.

Saudi-Iranian relations have gone through ups and downs over the last 40 years. No Saudi monarch has visited Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi—who was generally friendly with the Saudi royals. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shia cleric who led Iran’s revolution, called for Saudi Arabia and other pro-American monarchies in the Persian Gulf to be overthrown.

Mr. Khomeini condemned the religious credentials of the Saudi royal family, declaring in 1987 that Mecca, the Saudi holy city that was the birthplace of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, was in the hands of “a band of heretics.” The two countries broke off diplomatic relations, which weren’t re-established until 1991.

Former King Abdullah went to Tehran in 1997 when he was crown prince and the country’s de facto ruler. In the same year, then-Iranian President Mohammed Khatami visited the Saudi port city of Jeddah, where he met the Saudi monarch, King Fahd.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
First Published:17 Apr 2023, 07:25 PM IST
HomeNewsWorldIran Invites Saudi Arabia’s King to Visit as Bitter Rivalry Recedes

Get Instant Loan up to ₹10 Lakh!

  • Employment Type

    Most Active Stocks

    Bharat Electronics

    311.45
    01:02 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    5.15 (1.68%)

    Tata Steel

    159.65
    01:02 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    1.9 (1.2%)

    Wipro

    504.40
    01:02 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    -52.85 (-9.48%)

    Bharat Petroleum Corporation

    311.55
    01:02 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    7.75 (2.55%)
    More Active Stocks

    Market Snapshot

    • Top Gainers
    • Top Losers
    • 52 Week High

    Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertil

    234.50
    12:52 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    20.55 (9.61%)

    Indian Hotels Company

    622.80
    12:52 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    45.55 (7.89%)

    Fertilizers & Chemicals Travan

    1,089.60
    12:52 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    72.6 (7.14%)

    NBCC India

    183.95
    12:52 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    12.15 (7.07%)
    More from Top Gainers

    Recommended For You

      More Recommendations

      Gold Prices

      • 24K
      • 22K
      Bangalore
      75,510.00293.00
      Chennai
      75,657.000.00
      Delhi
      75,217.00732.00
      Kolkata
      75,144.00659.00

      Fuel Price

      • Petrol
      • Diesel
      Bangalore
      102.86/L0.00
      Chennai
      100.98/L0.23
      Kolkata
      104.95/L0.00
      New Delhi
      94.72/L0.00
      OPEN IN APP
      HomeMarketsPremiumInstant LoanBudget