Iran Resumes Ties with Saudi Arabia after 7 years
WANA (Mar 11) – On Friday, Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to restore diplomatic relations and re-open their embassies and missions, seven years after they cut off ties over various issues. After several days of intensive talks in the Chinese capital, Beijing, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani officially announced the agreement in a joint statement by the three countries.
“As a result of the talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months,” the joint statement said.
According to the statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia highlighted the need to respect each other’s’ national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.
They agreed to implement a security cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 and another accord reached in May 1998 to boost economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific and cultural cooperation.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed by Saudi Arabia in 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.
Iran, Saudi Arabia and China also expressed their firm determination to make their utmost efforts to promote regional and international peace and security.
This agreement has signaled a shift in the usual alliances and rivalries that have governed international diplomacy for decades.
The U.S. who has always been the main player in West Asia during most of the past century, is now finding itself in the sidelines while major changes are in action.
On the other hand, China is now playing a significant role, transforming itself to an influencing figure in West Asia. Of course, being the top purchaser of Saudi oil, China has its own interests in the region and doesn’t want to see its security descend into chaos.
Unlike the U.S. who seems to do everything in its power to disrupt the oil rich region, while ensuring that all Israel’s wishes are met.
Following the announcement, the Whitehouse publicly welcomed the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran and expressed no overt concern about Beijing’s part in bringing the two back together. Meanwhile in private, Biden’s aides suggested too much was being made of the breakthrough.
This also comes at a time when Israel was hoping to establish ties with Saudi Arabia with Washington’s help, as it had with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain during former president Trump’s administration.
However, the Saudi’s requested a few things in return for normalizing ties with Israel which the U.S. has yet to agree to.
Adnan Tabatabai, CEO of a German-based think tank says it is common to hear anti-American sentiments in Iran but “from at least the fall of 2019 onwards, there is also some disappointment and some increasing skepticism inside Saudi Arabia towards the role of the U.S. in the region.
There was a need sensed in Saudi Arabia to think in a different way about how it can secure its territory, borders and interests.”
Having close relations during former U.S. president Donald Trump, Riyadh – Washington relations hampered during Joe Biden’s administration.
After coming into power, Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state for orchestrating the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for The Washington Post living in the United States. However, the president agreed to visit Riyadh last year in an attempt to ease the energy crisis in the West, caused by the war in Ukraine. But Saudi later curbed oil production to keep gas prices elevated, infuriating Washington to a point that it was threatened of “consequences” by the U.S. president.
Using extensive military, trade and intelligence manipulation in the region, the U.S. has held key cards in West Asia and still does in some instances. But no doubt the regional order is changing.