Iran announced Sunday that it has resumed exports to Saudi Arabia in a sign of warming ties between the two countries.
Iran’s Customs Administration’s spokesman Roohollah Latifi said Saudi Arabia has “rejoined” the list of countries to which Iran exports. Latifi said exports to Saudi Arabia had “reached zero” in the last Iranian fiscal year, which ended on March 20, 2021.
Last week, Iran expressed its “readiness” to resume exports to Saudi Arabia if tensions were reduced. The two countries have held talks on and off since April, when Baghdad began brokering negotiations.
On Friday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Riyadh was “serious” about talks with Iran to repair relations. Since 2016, the regional rivals have not had formal diplomatic relations.
US intervention in the region stokes the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran. For example, when Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020, he was scheduled to meet with Iraq’s former prime minister, who was facilitating indirect talks between Tehran and Riyadh.
Although the US is still deeply entrenched in the Middle East and is still backing the Saudis in Yemen, the Biden administration has taken steps to reduce its military footprint in the region, including removing Patriot anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia.