Iran, Saudi Arabia to restore ties in China-brokered deal. Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions in Chinese-brokered talks, they said in a joint statement, seven years after breaking ties.
The move punctuates a wider restructuring and efforts to reduce tensions in the Middle East.
Riyadh severed ties with Tehran in 2016 after Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic following the Saudi execution of revered cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Iran and Saudi Arabia back rival sides in several conflict zones in the Middle East, including Yemen, where the Houthi rebels are backed by Tehran, and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government.
“After negotiations, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months,” Iran’s state news agency IRNA quoted the joint statement as saying. expressed.”
The official Saudi Press Agency also published the statement, adding that the talks in Beijing took place just five days before the announcement.
IRNA said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, had traveled to Beijing on Monday for “in-depth talks with his Saudi counterpart in China to resolve the problems between Tehran and Riyadh”.
Iraq, a neighbor of the two countries, had hosted several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia since April 2021.
Those encounters were conducted at a relatively low level, involving security and intelligence officers.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian said in July that the two countries were ready to take the dialogue to a higher level in the political and public spheres.
But no talks were publicly announced since April last year.
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In Friday’s statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia said they “thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting the talks between the two sides in 2021 and 2022, as well as the leaders and government of the People’s Republic of China.” Thank you for hosting.” Supporting negotiations held in that country. ,
“The three countries expressed their willingness to make all efforts towards enhancing regional and international peace and security,” he said.
Other Gulf countries also scaled back their ties with Iran after the 2016 incident.
But in September, Tehran welcomed an Emirati ambassador back after a six-year absence. A month ago, Iran said that Kuwait has sent its first ambassador to Iran since 2016.
Another regional separation occurred in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia and its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar.
He claimed it supported extremists and was too close to Iran – allegations that Doha denied.
Those ties were rectified in January 2021.
On Thursday, Amir-Abdolahian was in Damascus, where he welcomed Arab access to Syria’s internationally isolated government after last month’s earthquake rocked Turkey and the war-torn country.
He also said Tehran, which has supported Damascus during its 12 years of conflict, would join efforts to reconcile Syria and Turkey, which has long supported rebels opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. groups are supported.
Relations between Riyadh and Ankara have also improved since the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed hard to revive bilateral ties, a move that analysts have described as driven largely by economic considerations.