Saudi Arabia and Iran Agree to Resume Ties, Reopen Embassies

Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies. It’s a major breakthrough for the two Middle East nations and will have positive ramifications for the rest of the world. 

It comes after seven years of hostility that had threatened stability and security in the Gulf and helped fuel conflicts in the Middle East. 

The deal was announced after four days of previously undisclosed talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle East powers.

Tehran and Riyadh agreed “to resume diplomatic relations between them and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months”, according to a statement issued by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China.

It’s also a diplomatic achievement for the Chinese government and sends a signal from Saudi Arabia to the Biden administration about the role China is playing in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s statement profusely thanked China for its leadership in the talks. It emphasized the Chinese leader’s role in hosting and sponsoring talks between the two countries. 

The Saudi statement also expressed thanks to Riyadh’s neighbors Iraq and Oman, which it said had hosted “rounds of dialogue that took place between both sides during the years 2021-2022.”

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in response to Saudi authorities executing 47 dissidents, including a leading Shia cleric.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been high for years, including over the war in Yemen, where the two countries backed opposite sides.

Oil facilities in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have come under attack in recent years by actors believed to be backed by Iran, including Yemen’s Houthi rebels. It led to tensions reaching new levels in late 2019. 

Experts say the breakthrough is extremely good news. 

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