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Iran and Bahrain have agreed to initiate discussions aimed at restoring diplomatic relations, which were severed nearly eight years ago.

The announcement came following a meeting between Iran's acting foreign minister, Ali Bagheri, and Bahrain's foreign minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, on the sidelines of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue summit in Tehran.

Bahrain had cut ties with Iran in 2016, following Saudi Arabia's lead after protests in Iran against the Saudi execution of a Shiite cleric resulted in attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions. In their joint statement, the foreign ministries of Iran and Bahrain stated that both sides have agreed to establish the necessary mechanisms to begin talks on resuming political relations.

This development follows a broader trend of regional diplomatic shifts, including the recent normalization of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia brokered by China in 2023. This agreement, according to Iranian officials, aims to reduce the influence of external actors and regional stability threats.

Previously, Iran had also expressed intentions to improve relations with the United Arab Emirates, marking a significant diplomatic outreach in the Gulf region. Photo by Allan Donque from Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, Wikimedia commons.