The King of Saudi Arabia, Malek Abdollah, has invited the head of Iran's Expediency Council, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, to travel to his country. Nameh News reports that in a personal letter to Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Saudi King invited the Iranian senior cleric to take part in the Haj ceremony.
Gholamali Rejai, Hashemi Rafsanjani's cultural aide, reported that this is the third time the Saudi King has extended such an invitation and he noted the Saudi King's familiar and friendly tone toward Ayatollah Hashemi.
It is still not clear if Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani will accept this invitation.
Iran-Saudi relations were highly contentious throughout Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's eight-year tenure.
Malek Abdollah, however, sent a message of congratulations to Hassan Rohani when he won the June presidential election. Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was a chief supporter of the Rohani campaign.
Saudis Should Welcome A US Move Toward Iran - Shortly after President Obama's startling telephone conversation with Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, a Saudi Arabian journalist wrote that "The phone call between Obama and Rouhani shocked the Gulf states, Jordan, Turkey, Israel, and other countries." No matter which president initiated the call, he wrote, "What is important to know is what stands behind the conversation and how deep the ties are between America and Iran." -Thomas W. Lippman 10/4/13