TEHRAN (AA) – Iran said Monday that it is “too early” to reopen its embassy in Saudi Arabia amid Iraqi mediation between the two regional arch-rivals.
“It is too early to talk about the reopening of embassies by Tehran and Riyadh,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news briefing in Tehran.
The spokesman was replying to a question about whether the travel of Iranian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia would be a signal for the restoration of diplomatic ties between Tehran and Riyadh.
Last week, the first convoy of Iranian pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2021, Iraq has hosted mediation talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia to end their diplomatic rift and reach an understanding on the conflict in Yemen and Iran’s nuclear file.
The two regional rivals severed diplomatic relations in January 2016 following an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran after Nimr al-Nimr, a religious leader, was executed by Saudi authorities.
The relationship between them deteriorated further after Iran in September 2016 accused Riyadh of deliberately causing the death of around 400 Iranian pilgrims in a 2015 stampede in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
The two sides have since been engaged in a strong regional rivalry, often accusing each other of waging a proxy war for regional influence.