Iranian exports to Saudi resume after five year freeze

Iranian exports to Saudi Arabia resume after five year freeze
2 min read
18 October, 2021
Two Iranian shipments valued at $39,000 have been sent to Saudi Arabia in the past two months, following Iraqi-brokered discussions between the two countries.
The volume of exports is "not enough", but is a "positive indication" that economic ties between the countries will strengthen, according to an Iranian customs spokesman [Getty]

Iranian exports to Saudi Arabia have resumed after a five-year hiatus, an Iranian customs spokesman said on Sunday. 

Two shipments of Iranian goods, valued at $39,000, have arrived in the kingdom over the past two months, Iranian Customs Administration spokesman Ruhollah Latifi told The New Arab's sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

It was the first trade exchange since 2016 when diplomatic relations between the two countries were broken off following angry protests in Iran over the execution of Saudi Shia cleric Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr.

Imports and exports came to a complete halt after this.

"Two shipments of Iranian goods were exported to Saudi Arabia... the volume of exports is still small and not enough but it is a positive indication and the beginning of the strengthening of economic ties," Latifi said.

"The Iranian-Saudi rapprochement will have a positive impact on regional security, peace in the region... and economic growth," he added.

The resumption of trade comes after Iraqi-brokered discussions between Tehran and Riyadh were held in April in Baghdad.

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Four rounds of discussions have been held between Tehran and Riyadh so far - three in the months before Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, took office in August, and one after.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has expressed hope that discussions would "lay the foundation" to address issues between the countries. His Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has said discussions are "on the right track".

Riyadh and Tehran - who have backed opposing sides in regional conflicts including Syria and Yemen - have both said they hope the talks can ease tensions.