Iran, Saudi to restore ties in China-brokered deal
Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore ties and to reopen respective diplomatic missions after talks in China, state media in both countries reported on 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 Shia 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.
Shia-majority Iran and Sunni-Muslim 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”.