Iran, Saudi Arabia to restore ties in China-brokered deal

TEHRAN    -    Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore ties and to reopen respec­tive diplomatic mis­sions after talks in Chi­na, state media in both countries reported Fri­day, seven years after relations were severed.

Riyadh cut ties with Tehran after Irani­an protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic mis­sions in the Islamic re­public in 2016 follow­ing the Saudi execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

“ Following talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume dip­lomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months,” the official Ira­nian news agency IRNA said, citing a joint state­ment.

The official Saudi Press Agency also pub­lished the statement.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Su­preme National Secu­rity Council, had trav­elled to Beijing on Monday for “intensive negotiations with his Saudi counterpart in China in order to final­ly resolve the problems between Tehran and Ri­yadh”, IRNA said. Iran and Sau­di Arabia support rival sides in several conflict zones across the Middle East, including in Yemen where the Huthi rebels are backed by Tehran, and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government. Iraq, a neighbour to both countries, had hosted several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia since April 2021.

Those encounters were held at a relatively low level, involving se­curity and intelligence officials.

In Friday’s statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia said they “thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sul­tanate of Oman for hosting the talks held 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 held in that country.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Friday warmly welcomed the normal­ization of diplomatic relations be­tween Saudi Arabia and Iran. The normalisation of relations be­tween the two countries was facil­itated by China. 

The Foreign Office Spokesper­son, in a statement, said: “Paki­stan firmly believes that this im­portant diplomatic breakthrough will contribute to peace and sta­bility in the region and beyond

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