Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 14
By Fatih Karimov- Trend:
Switzerland will represent Iran's interests in Riyadh, in the absence of formal relations between the two countries, Hossein Jaber Ansari, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said, Fars news agency reported Feb. 14.
Iran earlier requested Switzerland to handle the interests of the Islamic Republic in Saudi Arabia which was accepted by Bern, Ansari said, adding the issue was finalized after Riyadh agreed with that.
Riyadh also submitted similar request to Switzerland, which was agreed and the country will handle the consular affairs of Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia in the both sides, the Iranian diplomat said.
The same day, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister announced that Switzerland will handle Saudi Arabia's consular affairs in Iran and will facilitate Iranian pilgrims coming to the kingdom, following the diplomatic dispute between Riyadh and Tehran.
The crisis erupted between Riyadh and Tehran after execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr by Saudis on Jan. 2.
Following al-Nimr's execution, angry Iranian protesters attacked Saudi embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad. Right after the attacks on its diplomatic missions, the Saudi Arabia said it severed ties with the Islamic Republic.
It should be noted that Switzerland also represents US interests in Tehran. The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since US embassy personnel in Tehran were taken hostage for 444 days starting in late 1979.