At the end of talks in China, Iran and Saudi Arabia announced the restoration of their diplomatic relations after more than seven years of rupture. However, the two countries remain at odds on several regional issues.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have announced the restoration of diplomatic ties following talks in China, according to a joint statement issued March 10 by state media of the two Middle Eastern heavyweights whose relations had been broken since 2016.
“Following talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume their diplomatic relations and to reopen embassies and (diplomatic) representations within a maximum period of two months,” the statement said. Irna agency, citing the statement, also reproduced by the Saudi press agency SPA.
Many regional disagreements
Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran severed ties seven years ago after protesters in the Islamic Republic attacked Saudi diplomatic missions following Riyadh’s execution of a famous Shia cleric , Nimr al-Nimr.
According to Irna, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, went to Beijing on March 6 “for intensive negotiations with his Saudi counterpart in China aimed at finally resolving the differences between Tehran and Riyadh”.
Since April 2021, Iraq has hosted a series of meetings between security officials from the two rival powers to bring the two countries closer together.
In their joint statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia “thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting talks between the two sides in 2021 and 2022, as well as the leaders and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and supporting the talks in that country”.
Tehran and Riyadh support rival parties in several conflicts in the region, notably in Yemen.
Iran has a dominating influence in Iraq and Lebanon and militarily and politically supports the government of Syria.