Saudi Arabia and Iran have put their relations on the path to normalization thanks to Beijing’s diplomatic efforts. This could help pacify the region, which is suffering from rivalries between the two leading Islamic nations.
Saudi Arabia and Iran want to reopen their embassies in Riyadh and Tehran within two months. A step that comes as a surprise, especially since the two countries are considered archenemies. Shia Iran is attempting to establish itself as the leading regional power, as is Wahhabi-Sunni Saudi Arabia (which views and persecutes the Shia as heretics). However, the regional and geopolitical realities clearly ensure that the leaders of both countries are aiming for a normalization of relations.
Iranian state media released images and videos of Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, with Saudi National Security Advisor Musaad bin Mohammed al-Aiban and Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat. “After the implementation of the decision, the foreign ministers of both countries will meet to prepare the exchange of ambassadors,” Iranian state television reported. In the video broadcast by Iranian media, Wang wholeheartedly congratulated the two countries on their “wisdom.” “Both sides have shown sincerity,” he said. “China fully supports this agreement.”
The Saudi press agency confirmed the agreement when it also released the joint statement by Saudi Arabia and Iran, which said the two countries had agreed to respect state sovereignty and not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs. The statement also said Riyadh and Tehran had agreed to activate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001.
With the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, a solution to the Yemen conflict could finally come within reach. Riyadh and Tehran support the opposing factions there, and the Saudi air force repeatedly carries out airstrikes there. In Syria, too, the two countries are on different sides. Observers also hope that the move could have a positive impact on the Muslim world’s conflict with Israel. Because Riyadh is currently also trying to normalize with the Jewish state, which is in a permanent conflict with Iran.
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