New Delhi: After a seven-year diplomatic rupture, Iran and Saudi Arabia on Friday agreed to resume the relations and reopen embassies, news agency Reuters reported.
According to the report, the agreement was reached after talks in Beijing between the top security officials from the two rival Middle East countries.
Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani, who signed the agreement with Saudi Arabia’s national security adviser, Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, praised China for its role in the rapprochement, Reuters reported.
Both Saudi Arabia and Iran thanked Iraq and Oman for hosting talks in 2021 and 2022.
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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency said that they have also agreed to activate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001, and another earlier accord on trade, economy and investment.
“In response to the noble initiative of His Excellency President Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, of China’s support for developing good neighborly relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran… The delegations from the two countries held talks during the period 6-10 March 2023 in Beijing,” Saudi Press Agency said.
A senior security official of Iran said Friday’s agreement had been endorsed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“That is why Shamkhani travelled to China as the supreme leader’s representative,” the official told Reuters. “The establishment wanted to show that the top authority in Iran backed this decision,” he added.
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Notably, the two nations in the Middle East have been at odds for years, and backed opposite sides in proxy wars from Yemen to Syria and elsewhere. Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute between the two countries in 2016 over Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric.