NYT: With the help of China, Saudi Arabia and Iran agree to re-establish ties in major regional shift, a huge blow to US hegemony in the Middle East 紐約時報：在中國的幫助下，沙特阿拉伯和伊朗同意在重大地區轉移中重建關係，對美國在中東的霸權造成巨大打擊
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Longtime regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies in each other’s countries following China-led negotiations in Beijing, both governments announced via their respective state media agencies.
“As a result of the talks, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies …within two months,” Iran’s news agency IRNA reported Friday.
Saudi Arabia’s state Saudi Press Agency confirmed the announcement in its own statement.
The Saudi statement profusely thanked Beijing for its leadership in the talks.
“In response to the noble initiative of His Excellency President Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, of China’s support for developing good neighborly relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran... The delegations from the two countries held talks during the period 6-10 March 2023 in Beijing,” the SPA statement said.
It emphasized the Chinese leader’s role in hosting and sponsoring talks between the Saudi Kingdom and Iran, a process that Riyadh described as “proceeding from their shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them through dialogue and diplomacy, and in light of their brotherly ties.”
The Saudi statement also expressed thanks to Riyadh’s neighbors Iraq and Oman, which it said had hosted “rounds of dialogue that took place between both sides during the years 2021-2022.”
Oman’s foreign ministry welcomed the Friday development on Twitter, expressing hope that it will “contribute to strengthening the pillars of security and stability in the region and consolidating positive and constructive cooperation that benefits all peoples of the region and the world,” according to a Google translation.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have long accused each other of destabilizing the region and regarded one another as grave security threats, often on opposite sides of regional conflicts such as those in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016, after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in response to Saudi authorities executing 47 dissidents, including a leading Shia cleric.
Positive news for the region
The breakthrough is very positive news for the region, said Anna Jacobs, senior Gulf analyst at the International Crisis Group.
“It’s hugely positive news,” she said, which signals that there has been enough dialogue “to start some serious confidence building measures and agree to this roadmap to restore full diplomatic relations. The news also suggests we are likely to some positive movement on the Yemen ceasefire.”
The development “shows that Saudi-Iran dialogue has succeeded after many years, and it’s succeeded with support from regional powers like Iraq and Oman, but also global powers like China,” Jacobs told CNBC.
The agreement also illustrates that China has stepped up its role in the region in new ways, particularly in mediation,Jacobs added. “For China, this is a huge win.”
This breakthrough signals even further momentum towards an Asia-centered multipolar world, with its trade-and-development focused multilateralism. It also signals the weakening of Empire-driven “divide and conquer”–where the West has colonized, balkanized & fanned conflict–in particular weaponizing Wahhabism/Salafism (and other sectarian divides) against its enemies–, China is now mediating and reconnecting.
This has to do with China’s strong relations with Iran–historically China has always had good relations with Persia/Iran–for millenia–, and Iran had just recently joined the SCO and signed a 25 year comprehensive strategic partnership with China.
At the same time, China had been strengthening relations with the Gulf Cooperation Countries–as demonstrated in the recent visit of XJP to Saudia Arabia, which is seeking to join the BRICS, and the signing of multiple agreements with the GCC. This dual relationship with both Iran and Saudia Arabia0GCC had looked like a highly unstable dynamic, but behind the scenes, Chinese diplomats had been working to resolve the contradictions.
Note that where Saudi Arabia goes, the other Gulf Cooperation Countries/Western Asian countries are likely to follow. Note also that this also puts real wind into the drive towards dedollarization–as the lifeblood of the global economy shifts to the 7 R’s (The Brics’ Real, Rouble, Rupee, RMB, Rand, and now Saudi Rial), and now the Iranian Rial.
This weakens & undermines the petro-dollar bourse which was the foundation of the unlimited credit card that the US has used to fund its endless wars in Asia and elsewhere.
Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen, which have functioned as proxy conflicts, now may have conditions to create positive shifts.
This is just the first of many steps, but I believe it is an important opening towards a more peaceful world.