Saudi Arabia, Iran to open embassies 'within days'

Riyadh-Tehran agreement will have positive “effects in the region in general," says the Iran foreign minister who is on a visit to Lebanon

By AP

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Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian waves as he stands with Hezbollah members and lawmakers as the Israeli side seen in the background, during his visit to Iran park, in the village of Maroun el-Rass on the Lebanon-Israel border on April 28, 2023. — AP
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian waves as he stands with Hezbollah members and lawmakers as the Israeli side seen in the background, during his visit to Iran park, in the village of Maroun el-Rass on the Lebanon-Israel border on April 28, 2023. — AP

Published: Fri 28 Apr 2023, 10:17 PM

Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a press conference in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Friday that embassies in Saudi Arabia and Iran will be opened "within days".

Amirabdollahian did not give specific dates for the reopening of the embassies in the two countries, which agreed to restore relations in March.


Iran’s top diplomat visited Lebanon’s border with Israel on Friday where he expressed support for the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group in its struggle against their common enemy: Israel.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian began his visit to Lebanon since Wednesday, meeting top officials and expressing Tehran’s readiness to help build power stations in an effort to try to end the Mediterranean country’s prevailing electricity crisis.


Lebanon is in the throes of the worst economic crisis in its modern history, rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement by the small nation’s ruling class. The crisis erupted in October 2019 and has plunged three quarters of Lebanon’s 6 million people, including 1 million Syrian refugees, into poverty.

Earlier this month, Israel launched rare strikes into southern Lebanon, hours after militants fired nearly three dozen rockets from there at Israel, wounding two people and causing some property damage. The Israeli military said at the time that it targeted installations of the Palestinian Hamas group in southern Lebanon.

Amirabdollahian's visit to Lebanon is the first since Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement in China last month to re-establish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after seven years of tensions.

Later Friday, the Iranian diplomat held a news conference at the Iranian Embassy. He said the Riyadh-Tehran agreement will have positive “effects in the region in general.”

In neighboring Syria, a pro-government newspaper reported that Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi will begin a two-day visit to Damascus next Wednesday, the first by an Iranian president to the Syrian capital since 2010.

Iran has also been a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the uprising that turned into war began in Syria in March 2011, killing nearly half a million people. Tehran has sent Iran-backed fighters from around the Middle East to fight alongside Assad’s forces, helping tip the balance of power in his favor.

The pro-government Al-Watan said Raisi would meet with Assad to boost “strategic cooperation” between the two allies. Several agreements and memorandums of understanding would also be signed during the visit.

Asked about Raisi's upcoming visit to Damascus, Amirabdollahian only said that "a program and a plan for the visit in the near future" had been prepared, without offering a specific date.


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