Timeline: Iran and Saudi Arabia key developments towards resumption of ties

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Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed, on Friday, to re-establish relations after a seven-year diplomatic rupture, according to a statement issued by Iran, Saudi Arabia and China, Reuters reports.

Here are key dates in Saudi-Iranian relations since the suspension of ties in 2016:

2 January, 2016: Saudi Arabia executes nearly 50 people, including prominent Shia cleric, Nimr Al-Nimr. Protesters in Tehran storm the Saudi Embassy and Shia Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vows “divine vengeance” for Nimr’s execution.

3 January, 2016: Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran.

7 January, 2016: Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of air strikes on its Embassy in Yemen. Saudi officials dismiss the claim as propaganda.

29 May, 2016: Iran bans its pilgrims from attending the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage, blaming Saudi Arabia for “sabotage” and failing to guarantee the safety of pilgrims.

14 September, 2019: Saudi Arabia blames Iran for attacks on its oil installations that knocked out half of the Kingdom’s supply. Iran denies involvement; Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group claims responsibility for the attacks.

3 January, 2020: Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Military Commander, is killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

9 April, 2021: Iran and Saudi Arabia hold their first direct talks since the rupture, hosted by Baghdad. Between April and September 2022, four rounds of talks are held, mostly mediated by Iraq and Oman.

13 March, 2022: Iran pulls out of talks ahead of a planned fifth round without giving a reason, a day after mass executions in Saudi Arabia that activists said included 41 Shia Muslims.

21 April, 2022: Iran and Saudi Arabia hold a fifth round of talks.

19 October, 2022: Top adviser to Iran’s Khamenei calls for reopening of Saudi, Iranian embassies.

9 December, 2022: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Saudi Arabia, holds talks with Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

16 February, 2023: Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, visits China to meet Xi.


Middle East Monitor

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