Swiss formalize intermediary role between Saudi Arabia, Iran

The Swiss government says it has finalized agreements with Iran and Saudi Arabia to represent each other's interests in their respective capitals, after the two countries broke off diplomatic ties last year.

The government says Switzerland's executive body "gave the green light" Wednesday to the "protecting power mandate" between the two Middle Eastern countries. The arrangement was also formalized separately in Riyadh and Tehran.

Saudi Arabia and Iran broke off diplomatic ties in January 2016 after Saudi Arabia executed a leading Shiite cleric. Protesters in Iran attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

Switzerland, a proudly neutral Alpine country, has often played the role of go-between for countries at odds with one another, such as between the United States and Cuba, and the United States and Iran.