In a surprising move, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has officially invited Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to visit Tehran. This is the first time in several years that such an invitation has been extended, and it represents a potential thawing of relations between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have been engaged in a bitter rivalry for decades, with both countries vying for influence and power in the Middle East. This rivalry has been exacerbated by sectarian tensions, with Saudi Arabia being a predominantly Sunni Muslim country and Iran being a predominantly Shia Muslim country.
However, recent events have led to a softening of the rhetoric between the two nations. The election of President Rouhani in 2013, who is seen as a moderate, was seen as a positive development by many in the international community. Additionally, the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015 helped to ease tensions between the two countries.
The invitation from President Rouhani to King Salman is seen as a further attempt to improve relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The two countries have been involved in a proxy war in Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been fighting against a Saudi-led coalition. However, recent peace talks have been held between the two sides, and the invitation to the Saudi king may be seen as a sign that Iran is willing to pursue a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
It remains to be seen whether King Salman will accept the invitation to visit Tehran, and what the potential outcomes of such a visit might be. However, the fact that the invitation has been extended at all is a positive development in the long-standing rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.