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Iran and Saudi restore ties in China-brokered deal

TEHRAN- Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia on Friday agreed to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions in China-brokered talks, they said in a joint statement, seven years after ties were severed.

The move caps a broader realignment and effort to ease tensions in the Middle East.

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

Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia back rival sides in several conflict zones in the Middle East, including Yemen, where Tehran backs the Houthi rebels and Riyadh is leading a pro-government military coalition.

“Following the 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,” Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA said, citing the joint statement.

The official Saudi press agency also released the statement, saying five days of talks were held in Beijing immediately prior to the announcement.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, traveled to Beijing on Monday to “intensely negotiate with his Saudi counterpart in China to finally resolve the issues between Tehran and Riyadh,” IRNA said.

Iraq, a neighbor of both countries, has hosted several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia since April 2021.

These encounters took place at relatively low levels, involving security and intelligence officials.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in July that the two countries are ready to take talks to a higher level in the political and public sphere.

But no talks have been publicly announced since April last year.

mending ties

In Friday’s statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia said they “thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting talks between the two sides in 2021 and 2022, and the leaders and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting them.” and supporting the talks being held in this country.”

“The three countries expressed their willingness to make every effort to improve regional and international peace and security,” they said.

Other Gulf states also scaled back ties with Iran after the 2016 incident.

But in September, Tehran welcomed back an Emirati ambassador after a six-year absence. A month earlier, Iran said Kuwait had sent its first ambassador to Iran since 2016.

Another regional rupture occurred in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia and its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar.

They claimed it supports extremists and is too close to Iran – allegations Doha denied.

These connections were repaired in January 2021.

On Thursday, Amir-Abdollahian was in Damascus, where he welcomed Arab contact with Syria’s internationally isolated government after an earthquake struck Turkey and the war-torn country last month.

He also said Tehran, which has supported Damascus during its 12-year conflict, will join efforts to reconcile Syria and Turkey, which has long supported rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Relations between Riyadh and Ankara have also seen a rapprochement since the 2018 assassination of Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed hard to revive bilateral ties, a move analysts describe as largely driven by economic considerations.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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