Breakthrough in Iran-Saudi Arabia relationship: diplomatic relations resumed

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Iranian, Saudi Arabian and Chinese authorities at a meeting in Beijing.
NOS News

Iran and Saudi Arabia have resumed their diplomatic relations after a years-long hiatus following China’s mediation. In a joint statement, the countries say that diplomatic relations and the reopening of embassies will take place within two months. Foreign ministers will also meet.

Both countries pledge to respect each other’s sovereignty and not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs. With the resumption of diplomatic relations, a more than twenty-year-old treaty on security cooperation between the two countries is being restored. The countries are also reviving a treaty in the field of trade, economy and investment.

Less chance of armed conflict

The diplomatic breakthrough reduces the chance of an armed conflict between the two countries. Tensions between the two have risen in recent years. In 2016, Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was stormed by protesters outraged by the execution of a Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia. Iran is predominantly Shiite, while Saudi Arabia’s population is predominantly Sunni.

Iran and Saudi Arabia were not officially at war with each other, but in recent years have supported parties fighting each other in civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

For example, Saudi ships, pipelines and oil fields were regularly the target of attacks, often claimed by Yemeni rebels. According to the rebels, this was to retaliate for Saudi attacks in Yemen. According to Saudi Arabia, Iran was to blame because Iran supported the rebels.

In recent years, the countries have indicated several times that they want to restore their ties, but no real breakthrough has been achieved.

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