Iran Reopens Embassy in Saudi Arabia

Tehran says ties between the two nations have entered a 'new era'

On Tuesday, Iran reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia after a seven-year closure, the result of the normalization deal between Tehran and Riyadh that was brokered by China.

During a ceremony at the embassy in Riyadh, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Bigdeli hailed the ties between the two nations. “We consider today an important day in the relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “The cooperation between the countries is entering a new era.”

The opening of the Iranian embassy coincided with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s arrival in Saudi Arabia. Blinken is expected to meet with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, and his visit comes as the Biden administration is pushing for a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

A Saudi-Israeli normalization deal now seems unlikely as Riyadh is focusing on boosting ties with Iran and also recently restored diplomatic relations with Syria. A major aspect of the US and Israeli push for normalization deals with Gulf Arab states is to form an anti-Iran alliance in the region, but Tehran is looking to get ahead of Israel.

Iran’s naval commander said last week that Tehran was working to form a naval alliance with Arab states, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The comments came after the UAE withdrew from a US-led maritime coalition in the region.

However, the Saudis are currently in a good position to extract concessions from the US in exchange for a normalization deal with Israel. According to media reports, Saudi Arabia is seeking stronger security guarantees from the US and wants assistance in developing a civilian nuclear program.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.