Iran, Saudi Arabia agree to resume ties after years of hostility

DUBAI: Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to restore relations after seven years of hostility which had threatened stability and security in the gulf and helped fuel conflicts in the Middle East, from Yemen to Syria.
The deal was announced after four days of previously undisclosed talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle Eastern powers.
Tehran and Riyadh agreed “to resume diplomatic relations between them and to reopen their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months”, according to a statement issued by Iran, Saudi Arabia and China.
“The agreement includes their affirmation of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs.
Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of launching missile and drone attacks on the kingdom’s oil facilities in 2019, as well as attacks on tankers in Gulf waters. Iran has denied the charges.
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement has often carried out cross-border missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia, which has led a coalition fighting the Houthis, and in 2022 expanded strikes into the United Arab Emirates.
In Friday’s agreement, Saudi Arabia and Iran also agreed to activate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001, as well as another earlier agreement on trade, economy and investment.
The two countries thanked China, as well as Iraq and Oman for hosting earlier talks in 2021 and 2022.
The agreement was signed by Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani and Saudi national security adviser Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban.
China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A White House national security spokesperson said the United States is aware of reports of the deal and welcomes all efforts to end the war in Yemen and defuse tensions in Yemen. Middle East.
“Go in the right direction”
The two major Shia and Sunni Muslim powers in the Middle East have been at odds for years and have backed opposing sides in proxy wars from Yemen to Syria and elsewhere.
Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute between the two countries over Riyadh’s execution of a Shia Muslim cleric.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said the normalization of relations offers great prospects for the two countries and for the Middle East, and hinted at further steps.
“The neighborhood policy, as a key axis of the Iranian government’s foreign policy, is moving strongly in the right direction and the diplomatic apparatus is actively behind the preparation of more regional measures,” Amirabdollahian tweeted.
A senior Iranian security official said Friday’s deal was endorsed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“That’s why Shamkhani visited China as a representative of the Supreme Leader,” the official told Reuters. “The establishment wanted to show that Iran’s highest authority supported this decision.”


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