Iran, Saudi agree to resume diplomatic ties, reopen embassies

Iran, Saudi agree to resume diplomatic ties, reopen embassies

TEHRAN – Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume bilateral diplomatic ties after several days of deliberations between top security officials of the two countries in Beijing.

Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani held several rounds of talks with his Saudi counterpart in the Chinese capital, and the two later agreed to sign a joint statement, Iran’s state media said.

The two Persian Gulf neighbors severed their diplomatic ties after the Saudi diplomatic mission in Tehran was attacked by an angry mob in January 2016 over the execution of a Saudi Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

The two estranged neighbors were engaged in marathon talks since April 2021 to restore diplomatic ties, brokered by Baghdad.

Both Tehran and Riyadh noted progress but the breakthrough did not materialize.

Interestingly, the agreement to resume diplomatic ties comes less than a month after President Ebrahim Raisi visited China in the first state visit by an Iranian president to the country in two decades.

Iran’s state media said Shamkhani, who heads Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, visited Beijing to follow up on agreements reached during Raisi’s visit and also hold talks with his Saudi counterpart aimed at restoring bilateral ties.

After several days of intense negotiations between the two officials, brokered by Chinese officials, a tripartite statement was issued on Friday by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China.

Saudi Arabia was represented by Musaid Al Aiban, the national security adviser, while China was represented by Wang Yi, a top diplomat, and member of the ruling Communist party’s political bureau.

The joint statement, published by Iran’s state media, said it was the initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at the “restoration of ties” between Tehran and Riyadh “based on the principle of good neighborliness,” as well as the “desire of the two countries to resolve differences through dialogue and diplomacy.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are grateful to the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting the talks between the two sides in the years 2021 to 2022 and to the leadership and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and supporting talks held in this country,” read the statement.

It said the two countries agreed to “resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies within two months.”

The foreign ministers of the two countries will now be meeting to implement the agreement reached between the top security officials and make the necessary arrangements for the exchange of ambassadors, the statement added.

“The three countries declare their decisive will to use all efforts to strengthen regional and international peace and security.”

Iran’s foreign minister last December said he had a “friendly conversation” with his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan on the sidelines of the Baghdad summit in Amman in the first high-level contact between the two sides since 2016.

In a tweet at the time, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the Saudi foreign minister expressed his country’s willingness to continue tension-easing talks with the Islamic Republic.

In a statement posted on Twitter, President Raisi’s deputy chief of staff Mohammad Jamshiii said during talks with President Xi in Beijing, “constructive ideas for the region were discussed and now they bear fruit.”

“Good neighborly and brotherly policies with Eurasian integration create economic and security benefits free from foreign intervention,” he said. (Anadolu)

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