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TEHRAN: Iran announced Friday the restoring of diplomatic ties with Djibouti more than seven years after it joined other regional nations in severing ties with Tehran in support of Saudi Arabia.

The decision by the strategic Horn of Africa nation came months after Iran and Saudi Arabia resumed relations under a China-brokered deal announced in March.

“Today, Iran and Djibouti announced the resumption of diplomatic relations through an official statement,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The move followed Amir-Abdollahian’s meeting with his Djiboutian counterpart Mahamoud Ali Youssouf in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Djibouti cut ties with Tehran in January 2016 after attacks on Saudi missions during protests over Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Other Saudi allies including Bahrain also severed relations in solidarity, after Riyadh’s breaking of ties with Iran.

Following the landmark deal with the Saudi kingdom, Iran has moved to cement or restore relations with neighbouring Arab countries.

Djibouti, a strategic Gulf of Aden port, sits on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and hosts military bases from China, France and the United States.

The small state lies at the mouth of the Red Sea, just across from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to support the internationally recognised government against Iran-backed Houthi rebels advancing after seizing control of the capital Sanaa.

Late Thursday, Iran’s foreign ministry said Iran and Djibouti also agreed to “further develop the friendly relations” and “to strengthen cooperation on a wide range of areas.”

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