Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two Shiite and Sunni powers in the Middle East and traditional enemies, announced on Friday a agreement to restore their diplomatic relationsbroken by Riyadh in 2016 after the attacks suffered in its diplomatic headquarters in the Persian country.
The agreement includes the reopening of its embassies and has been signed in China, which has mediated between the two oil powers that for years have been fighting for regional hegemony and supporting rival factions in conflicts in the area.
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riad had severed diplomatic relations with Tehran seven years agoafter Iranian citizens attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic following the execution in Riyadh of Shiite cleric Nimr Al Nimr.
“Following discussions, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions in the next two months,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency said, citing a joint statement.
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The official Saudi press agency also published the text. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, traveled to China on Tuesday for “intensive negotiations with his Saudi counterpart in China in order to finally resolve the issues between Tehran and Riyadh“, IRNA said.
Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia back rivals in several Middle East conflict zones, including Yemen, where Iran backs Houthi rebels while Riyadh leads a pro-government military coalition.
Iraq, which shares borders with both countrieshas received several rounds of negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia since April 2021. Those meetings were relatively low-level, with intelligence and security officials.
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Negotiations and agreements
In April 2021, both countries entered into negotiations in Baghdad and on January 17, 2022, Tehran sent three diplomats to Riyadh as representatives to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the first time in six years after the break in relations.
In May last year, Iranian Foreign Minister Hosein Amir Abdolahian confirmed that there had been “little but good” progress in negotiations to normalize bilateral relations and in July, after several rounds of secret meetings in Iraq at the level of intelligence and security chiefs, they agreed to hold a first meeting of ministers openly and at the political level.
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On December 21, Abdolahian met his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan, at the “Baghdad-2” conference in Amman, the Jordanian capital, the highest level meeting between the two states.
Finally this Friday Iran and Saudi Arabia announced an agreement that restores their diplomatic relations, according to a joint statement that specifies that both countries reopen their respective embassies “in two months”.
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