Saudi Arabia and Iran have announced they will resume relations after years of hostility.
The news follows four days of secret talks in the Chinese capital beijing and will be seen as a major step towards stability in the Middle East.
The agreement was signed by from iran senior security officer and Saudi Arabia national security adviser and was described by senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi as “a victory for dialogue and peace”.
Accordingly, Tehran and Riyadh will reopen their embassies in their respective capitals within two months, respect each other’s sovereignty and pledge not to interfere in internal affairs.
They will also reactivate a 2001 security agreement.
The two Middle Eastern powers severed ties seven years ago after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was stormed by protesters in 2016 following the execution of a Shia cleric.
Since then, Iran has supported the Houthi militia in its conflict against the Saudi-backed government in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of attacking oil tankers in the Gulf.
Iran has always denied these allegations.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian welcomed the agreement, tweeting: “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 steps”.
Tehran also believes it will encourage the West to strike a new nuclear deal after talks have all but ended in recent months.
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The United States and Israel will be wary of the new agreement
Detente, negotiated by Chinais one of the clearest signs that many countries in the Middle East are turning east after decades of US hegemony.
It will be seen as a huge victory for Chinese diplomacy in the Middle Eastwhich will not go unnoticed in European capitals or in Washington.
However, we have yet to see the fine print of the deal.
Joe Biden’s White House has had a strained relationship with Saudi leaders since the president called the Kingdom a pariah following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
These relations were further strained when Saudi Arabia agreed to cut oil production, a move that was seen in Washington as helping Russia in its war against Ukraine because he raised oil prices, thereby increasing Moscow’s income.
Iran has found itself under increasing international sanctions following violent crackdowns on anti-government protests in the country – the deal, over time, could help alleviate some of the regime’s economic problems.
It is unclear what the deal will mean for Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu has made no secret of his desire to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia. The Israeli Prime Minister has done this successfully with a number of other Arab states under the Abraham Accords.
However, Israel and Iran are sworn enemies.
Israel regularly targets Iran’s nuclear development, while Tehran arms proxy groups like Hezbollah on the Israeli border and backs Palestinian militants in the West Bank.