Iran and Bahrain have agreed to launch negotiations on how to restore diplomatic relations that have been severed for nearly eight years, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Tiny Gulf monarchy Bahrain cut ties with Iran in 2016, following in the footsteps of regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia after Riyadh’s diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked by angry protesters denouncing the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric.

Iran’s acting Foreign Minister, Ali Bagheri, met on Sunday with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani on the sidelines of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue summit in Tehran, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

“In this meeting, the two sides agreed to create the necessary mechanisms to start the talks between the two countries to examine how to resume political relations,” it added.

The visit by the Bahraini top diplomat was his second in less than a month, after attending the funerals of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who died in a helicopter crash in May along with six others.

Iran and Saudi Arabia resumed ties in 2023 in a Chinese-brokered agreement that shifted regional alliances.

With AFP