German FM Due in Iran on February 2: Source

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit the Iranian capital of Tehran early next month in a bid to push for a reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, whose ties have soured in recent weeks, a source said on Saturday.

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According to a report by the Islamic Republic News Agency, the source in Berlin said the German foreign ministry has already coordinated the trip with Iranian authorities.

The source said Steinmeier will try to prepare the grounds for establishment of dialogue between Tehran and Riyadh during his one-day trip, which is slated for February 2.

He is also scheduled to pay a visit to Saudi Arabia purportedly to attend a cultural festival. There, he will have consultations with Saudi officials on reconciliation between Tehran and Riyadh.

Tensions ran high between Iran and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks mainly due to Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, and a subsequent attack by outraged Iranian protesters on the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which resulted in the Arab country’s decision to sever its ties with the Islamic Republic.

On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr, among dozens of others. The move ignited widespread international condemnation, from both political and religious figures.

The next day, furious demonstrators in the Iranian cities of Tehran and Mashhad stormed Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic buildings in protest at the execution of Sheikh Nimr.

Although Iranian officials criticized the embassy attack and police arrested dozens involved, Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic.

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