Iran diplomat granted entry to Saudi

Clouds over the Riyadh skyline, November 2013. (Reuters pic)

TEHRAN: Saudi Arabia has granted a visa to an Iranian diplomat to work in a consular office in Jeddah, state media reported, in a rare sign of a thaw between the rival powers.

Foreign ministry official Mohammad Alibak has been permitted to serve as head of Iran’s Interests Section in the consulate, state news agency IRNA reported.

There was no immediate confirmation from Riyadh.

Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, the predominant Shiite power, have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East including the Syrian civil war.

The two countries severed diplomatic relations in early 2016 after Riyadh’s embassy in Tehran was attacked by militants in response to the execution of a top Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia.