According to reports from state media outlets in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two countries have settled to restore diplomatic ties and reopen their embassies within two months. The announcement came after talks between representatives from both countries in Beijing on Friday. This agreement marks a significant step towards easing the long-standing tensions and hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Restoring diplomatic relations and reopening embassies would provide a formal channel for the two countries to engage and address their differences through dialogue and diplomacy.
Following Friday’s Beijing talks, Iran & Saudi Arabia have agreed to renew their diplomatic relations & reopen their embassies within two months. This decision was confirmed by official state media from both nations, indicating a likely shift towards improved relations #iransaudi pic.twitter.com/sJGHnO8F4v
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) March 11, 2023
The current sessions of talks in Beijing are seen as a positive sign of progress towards a more stable and peaceful relationship between the two regional powers. Images and videos of the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, Saudi Arabia’s National Security Adviser, Musaad bin Mohammad al-Aiban and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, were posted by the Iranian state media.
According to Iranian state television, the meetings resulted in an agreement to restore diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Foreign ministers of both countries will meet to prepare for an exchange of ambassadors after the decision is implemented. Moreover, the development is a significant step towards reducing the tension and hostility between the two countries, and it provides a formal channel for them to engage in dialogue and diplomacy.
Activation of 2001 Signed Security Cooperation Agreement
Iranian media broadcasted footage of Wang offering “whole-hearted congratulations” on the pact between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations. Wang praised the wisdom of both countries and acknowledged their sincerity in the negotiations. The Saudi Press Agency also confirmed the deal and published a joint statement from both countries. The statement emphasized their commitment to respecting each other’s state sovereignty and refraining from interfering in internal affairs. In addition, the statement highlighted the activation of a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001.
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) March 10, 2023
A Move Towards Regional Stability
This development marks a significant step towards reducing regional tensions and promoting stability in the Middle East. In their joint statement, Riyadh, Tehran, and Beijing expressed their eagerness to make all possible efforts to improve regional and global peace and security. According to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, Ali Shamkhani described the discussions in Being as “clear, transparent, comprehensive, and constructive.” This statement indicates that all parties involved in the dialog were committed to productive talks and cooperation toward promoting stability and peace in the region. The agreement to restore diplomatic relations between both nations, with the support of China, is a significant development that could lead to improved relations and greater cooperation in the future.
Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying that the removal of misunderstandings and the adoption of a future-oriented approach in the relations between Tehran and Riyadh would undoubtedly result in an improvement in regional stability and security. He added that this development would lead to greater cooperation among the nations of the Persian Gulf and the Islamic world in addressing the current challenges faced by the region. This statement highlights the potential positive impact of the agreement to restore diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the cooperation between these two countries could serve as a model for other nations in the region to resolve their differences and work towards promoting stability and prosperity.
Wang Vowed to Contribute Towards Regional Security
During the talks in Beijing, China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, stated that China would continue to contribute constructively to managing hotspot issues and exhibit its responsibility as a major world power. He emphasized China’s role as a “good-faith” and “reliable” mediator in fulfilling its duties as a host for dialogue. Wang’s remarks indicate China’s commitment to promoting regional stability and peace through constructive engagement and dialogue. However, this development highlights China’s growing influence in the Middle East and its efforts to resolve regional conflicts significantly.
History of Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been in a tense regional rivalry for several years. The tensions between the two nations peaked in 2016 when Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Tehran following Iranian protesters’ invasion of Saudi diplomatic posts. The invasion was sparked by the execution of a prominent Shia Muslim scholar by Saudi Arabia, which had triggered demonstrations in Iran.
The two nations support opposing sides in many conflict zones around the Middle East, including in Yemen, where the Houthis, a Shia group, are backed by Iran while the Saudi-led military coalition supports the Yemeni government. This history of opposing allegiances has fueled tensions between the two nations and has been a significant obstacle in resolving regional conflicts.
Recently, there have been indications that Iran and Saudi Arabia are attempting to improve their relations. According to Al Jazeera‘s Ali Hashem, officials from the two nations had met in Baghdad in the past few years. The Iraqi government initiated mediation talks in 2021, but the process was disrupted due to the Iraqi elections in the same year. These recent efforts to improve ties suggest that both nations may be willing to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve their differences and promote regional stability.
Ali Hashem from Al Jazeera said talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia officials occurred in Baghdad and Oman. However, only important news emerged after five rounds of discussions. The security-level meetings held in Oman primarily focused on the situation in Yemen. Iran and Saudi Arabia support opposing sides in several conflicts across the Middle East, including in Lebanon and Syria. Therefore, improving their relations could significantly impact the region’s politics.