August 12, 2022

Tehran, Iran (AFP) – Iran on Friday issued a public statement saying it was seeking the release of an Iranian citizen who has been detained by Saudi Arabia since this year’s Hajj season, which concluded a month ago.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the country’s top diplomat, Hossein Amirabad Lahian, made the call during a phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart. Iraq played the role of mediator and facilitator of talks between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. The statement did not specify the identity of the detainee.

There was no immediate acknowledgment from Saudi Arabia of the detention.

Iraq played a key role in facilitating talks between the two regional rivals, including hosting several rounds of direct talks between security officials from both countries.

Iran, the world’s largest Shiite country, and Saudi Arabia, a Sunni power, cut diplomatic ties in 2016 after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Angry Iranians protesting the execution stormed two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. The Saudi embassy and consulate have remained closed since then.

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