For the first time in six years, Iranian diplomats are participating in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meetings.
Saudi Arabia and Iran had severed relations in 2016 after riots and attacks on the Kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad.
Today, Iranian diplomats are attending preparatory senior staff meetings for the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC member states.
The diplomats participated with their colleagues, representatives of the Islamic world, headed by Hissein Brahim Taha, the Secretary-General of the organization, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
These Iranian diplomats are working at their delegation’s headquarters and away from the Iranian consulate in Jeddah.
Last Tuesday, Asharq Al-Awsat reported the news of the arrival of three Iranian diplomats at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah.
Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the diplomats were welcomed at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and accorded the same reception as any other OIC delegation.
The diplomats’ duties will be limited to representing their country at OIC meetings, explained the sources.
The organization is holding several meetings in preparation for the OIC foreign ministers' meeting that is set for Pakistan.
Even though ties have been severed, Riyadh has always granted visas to Iranians wishing to carry out the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
They are treated the same as any pilgrims from any part of the world from the moment they arrive in the Kingdom to the moment they depart.
In other news, the OIC on Sunday held a preparatory meeting for the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which is due to take place in Islamabad in March.
Held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, the inaugural session saw the handover of the chair from Niger to Pakistan.
OIC Secretary-General Taha reviewed major developments that had taken place in some member states and also the meeting’s main agenda items.
He addressed the situation in Palestine, Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Mali, the Sahel Region and Lake Chad Basin, and other African countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muslim communities and minorities in nonmember states.
Taha underlined the need to overcome the challenges faced by member states to ensure peace, stability, and development and to achieve the aspirations of their people.
He also stressed the need to strengthen OIC capacities in the areas of peace, preventive diplomacy and mediation, counterterrorism and combating Islamophobia, along with response efforts to coronavirus challenges.