Zarif: Iran, Saudi Arabia to exchange diplomatic visits

Published 25.08.2017 00:00

Iran and Saudi Arabia will soon exchange diplomatic visits, Tehran said, possibly signaling an ease in tensions after the archrivals cut ties last year.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told local media the visits would take place after this year's hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, due to start in the beginning of September.

"Visas have been delivered for the two sides. The final steps need to be completed so our diplomats can go inspect our embassy and consulate in Saudi Arabia, and for Saudi diplomats to come inspect their embassy and consulate," Zarif told Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency.

It would be the first exchange of diplomats between the two countries since they cut ties in January 2016, after Iranians stormed Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran in response to the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

There have been signs of a thaw in relations in recent months, including an agreement to allow Iranians to participate in this year's hajj, a pilgrimage that Muslims must perform at least once in their life if they are able to do so.

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