Logo of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (source: www. wikipedia.org)
On January 16th, 2022, three Iranian diplomats have arrived in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah to reopen Iran’s representative office to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
On December 23, 2021, Hossein Amir ABDOLLAHIAN, the Iranian Foreign Minister announced that Saudi Arabia has issued visa for three Iranian diplomats to be deployed at the OIC.
“Soon our diplomats will be stationed at the office of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah. I think our diplomats will be deployed soon, which is a good sign” the foreign minister said. Jeddah is the permanent venue of the 57-member organization. The last Iranian permanent representative to the OIC was Mahdi HAMZE’ei, along with other Iranian diplomats.
The OIC is the second intergovernmental organization after the UN, with 57 countries from different continents.
This organization has been created as the collective voice of the Islamic world and a guarantee to protect and uphold the interests of the Islamic world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among the people of the world.
Iran and Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic ties in 2016 after crowds of people attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran and a consulate office in Mashhad in response to the execution of a prominent Shia religious leader by the Sunni-majority kingdom. Since April 2021, the regional rivals had four rounds of direct negotiations facilitated by Iraq in Baghdad, and say some progress has been made.
In Yemen, Tehran and Riyadh are seen as supporting opposing sides. A Saudi-led military coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognised government says Iran provides the Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms and expertise, something Iran denies. On December, 2021, Hassan IRLOO the Iran’s top envoy in Yemen, died of COVID-19 shortly after being transferred to Tehran through mediation efforts by Iraq and others. Iran’s foreign ministry blamed Saudi Arabia for delaying the transfer, an allegation the kingdom denied.
Iran and Saudi Arabia started direct talks through Iraq’s mediation to restore ties during Hassan ROUHANI’s the presidency. However, efforts to revive the ties have intensified during the rule of President Ebrahim RAISI who has declared cementing ties with neighbors and regional countries as a foreign policy priority.
In an interview to the Financial Times published in October, 2021, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al SAUD signaled his country’s desire to repair relations with Iran, saying the kingdom is “serious” about talks with the Islamic Republic.
Describing the negotiations as “exploratory” but “cordial”, he said “we are serious about the talks. For us it’s not that big a shift. We’ve always said we want to find a way to stabilize the region.”
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, Aw-journal.com Tehrantimes.com, Tasnimnews.com, and Aa.com.tr