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

March 14, 2023 at 5:41 pm

Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to restore ties and reopen embassies on 10 March 2023

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:

10 March 2023: Iran and Saudi Arabia announce that they have agreed to restore ties and reopen embassies in a deal brokered by China

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

09 December 2022: Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Saudi Arabia, holds talks with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

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

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

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

09 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

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

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

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

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

3 January 2016: Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran

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 Al-Nimr’s execution