Iran and Saudi Arabia announce the restoration of their diplomatic relations after years of confrontation | International | The USA Print

Iran and Saudi Arabia announced this Friday the reestablishment of their diplomatic relations, broken by Riyadh in 2016 after the assault on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran by an Iranian mob. “The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have decided to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies in two months,” reads the joint statement of the two great Shiite and Sunni powers, respectively, of the Middle East. China has joined the text, the country under whose auspices the thaw between the two countries has been signed. The confrontation of both States has had repercussions in the regional conflicts in Syria, Lebanon or Yemen.

The two countries have agreed to respect the sovereignty of States, not to interfere in internal affairs and to activate a security cooperation agreement signed on April 17, 2001, according to the joint statement, broadcast by state media, both Saudi and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The official Iranian agency IRNA also cites the reactivation of a general agreement between the two countries, reached on May 27, 1998, “aimed at fostering ties in the economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific, cultural, sports and youth”.

Relations between the Saudi monarchy, which claims to be the leader of Sunni Islam, and the Iranian regime, which has become the champion of Shiite Islam, already dragged, before the break in 2016, a long history of rivalry. But they were completely interrupted earlier that year following the execution in the Saudi kingdom of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, considered the most influential cleric over the Shiite minority in that country, who had been sentenced to death for “terrorism”. and “sedition.” Following his execution, a mob stormed and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Riyadh responded by withdrawing its ambassador, a move that was followed by the Iranians.

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According to IRNA, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, traveled to Beijing on Monday “for intensive negotiations with his Saudi counterpart in China aimed at finally resolving the differences between Tehran and Riyadh.” According to a semi-official Iranian media, the Tasnim agency, Shanjani had the Saudi National Security Adviser, Musaid Al Aiban, as an interlocutor.

“Relations between Tehran and Riyadh will lead to the development of regional stability and security and will increase cooperation between the countries of the Persian Gulf and the Islamic world to face existing challenges,” Shamjani declared after the signing of the agreement, according to television. Iranian Presstv. Iranian Foreign Minister Hosein Amir Abdolahian and his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan will hold a meeting in the coming days to discuss the reopening of their embassies and their ambassadors, according to IRNA. Since April 2021, Iraq had hosted a series of meetings between security officials from the two rival powers to bring the two countries closer.

In their joint statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia “thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting the talks between the two parties in 2021 and 2022, as well as the leadership and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and supporting the conversations”.

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Tehran and Riyadh support rival contenders in various conflicts in the region, especially those in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. Iran has great influence in Iraq and Lebanon and militarily supports Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. For more than four decades, both powers have competed to impose their own branch of Islam on the Muslim world: the Saudis as guarantors of the Sunni majority and the Iranians in favor of the Shiite branch, a minority in the Islamic world as a whole but a majority in other countries. That country.

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