The Maldives and Iran have re-established diplomatic relations, after a seven-year hiatus, the countries announced during the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly. State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Khaleel and Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian formalised the re-establishment of ties.

The two governments agreed to further develop the friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty, equality, mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, a joint press release said. Both countries also resolved to strengthen cooperation on a wide range of areas including investment, trade, seamless travel and people-to-people contact, science, and technological innovation.

The Maldives’ 40-year-old relationship with Iran was severed in May 2016 under the Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom administration, in what was seen to be a solidarity stance with Saudi Arabia which would also cut ties with its Middle East neighbour, quoting Iran as obstructing peace in the Gulf region.

Saudi Arabia restored foreign relations and reopened its embassies in Iran in March of this year.

Current developments come at a time when a number of nations are, in a China-led effort, re-establishing ties with Iran.