Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore ties: Brokered in China
Kanako Mita and Noriko Watanabe
Modern Tokyo Times
Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to restore relations after regional differences in several ongoing conflicts and the events of 2016 – including Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. The agreement between both nations was brokered in China.
Both nations will resume diplomatic ties and re-open mutual embassies in the following two months. Accordingly, a statement by all parties – including China – said, “The agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs.”
The execution of the revered Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia heightened tensions. This led to the embassy of Saudi Arabia being attacked in Tehran in 2016. Hence, elites in Riyadh denounced Iran and cut ties.
Sheikh al-Nimr, a pious and dedicated holy Shia cleric, hit a chord with Shia Muslims in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and other parts of this nation.
The BBC said: “He was a prominent, outspoken cleric who articulated the feelings of those in Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority who feel marginalized and discriminated against.”
Reuters reports, “In recent years Saudi Arabia has blamed Iran for missile and drone attacks on the kingdom’s oil facilities in 2019 as well as attacks on tankers in Gulf waters. Iran denied the charges.”
The Guardian reports, “The agreement has potentially wide implications for the Iran nuclear deal and the civil war in Yemen, where the two sides are locked in a proxy war, and shows the new determination of Saudi Arabia to conduct a foreign policy independent of the west.”
The Foreign Minister of Iran, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said: “The return of normal relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia provides great capacities to the two countries, the region, and the Islamic world. The neighborhood policy, as the key axis of the government’s foreign policy, is strongly moving in the right direction, and the diplomatic apparatus is actively behind the preparation of more regional steps.”
Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, lauded China and Saudi Arabia relations.
The Prince said, “China is our largest trading partner. It is also the largest trading partner of most countries. And that is a reality that we will have to deal with. China, for us, is an important and valued partner in many areas. We have excellent working relationships across many sectors. But we have said and repeat this, always, we will look towards our interests. And we will look for them in the west and in the east.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “Iraq and Oman helped to build bridges between Saudi Arabia and Iran – before China brokered the agreement. This is welcome news because the administration of President Joe Biden is pushing a hostile administration against China and the Russian Federation.”
Associated Press reports, “The deal, struck in Beijing this week amid its ceremonial National People’s Congress, represents a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese as Gulf Arab states perceive the United States slowly withdrawing from the wider Middle East. It also comes as diplomats have been trying to end a long war in Yemen, a conflict in which both Iran and Saudi Arabia are deeply entrenched.”
Issues will continue to be addressed by all vested parties after embassies re-open. Accordingly, the signs are positive that dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran will develop concerning Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
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