TEHRAN, Iran — Iran released a public statement Friday saying it is requesting the release of an Iranian national who has been detained by Saudi Arabia since this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, which concluded a month ago.
Iran’s foreign ministry said the country’s top diplomat, Hossein Amirabdollahian, made the call during a telephone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart. Iraq has served as a mediator and facilitator of talks between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. The statement did not identify the detainee.
There was no immediate recognition of the detention by Saudi Arabia.
Iraq has played a key role in facilitating talks between the regional rivals, including hosting several rounds of direct talks between security officials from both countries.
Iran, the largest Shia Muslim country in the world, and Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties in 2016 after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Saudi Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Angry Iranians protesting the execution stormed two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. Since then, the Saudi embassy and consulate have been closed.