Saudi Arabia agrees to allow 40,000 Iranian pilgrims for Hajj
The move comes as Tehran and Riyadh resumed official talks in Baghdad, in what appears to be a sign of warming relations between the two rivals.
The fifth round of talks between senior security and intelligence officials last Thursday were focused on Saudi Arabia’s war against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the normalisation of ties between the two countries.
In the recent Iran-Saudi talks in Baghdad, the two sides decided to “send a delegation to each country within the next 30 days to discuss the reopening of embassies,” @axios quoted a source as saying.— Alex kennedy (@Alexkennedy30) April 28, 2022
Riyadh also agreed to allow 40,000 Iranian Hajj pilgrims to enter KSA in July.
Tehran and Riyadh will “send a delegation to each country within the next 30 days to discuss the reopening of embassies,” according to the report, in what would be a major step towards normalising relations between the two countries.
Riyadh has reportedly also agreed for Iran to reopen its embassy in the kingdom for activities related to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.
Earlier this month, the United Nations announced a ceasefire in Yemen between the warring parties, raising hopes for peace in the war-torn country.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are major regional rivals with differing ideologies – the kingdom sees itself as the leader of the Sunni world, while Tehran projects itself as a major Shia power.
The two states cut relations in January 2016 when an Iranian mob stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran after Riyadh executed a prominent Shia cleric.
The tension between the two states had been building for several years, and was further exacerbated by the deaths of over 400 Iranian pilgrims during Hajj in 2015, when more than 2,000 people were killed in a massive stampede.