In a historic move, Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to reconcile after years of strained relations that have fuelled conflicts in the Middle East.
The breakthrough came after months of secret talks, which were accelerated by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
China played a crucial role in brokering the deal, which marks a significant shift in the geopolitical landscape of the region, where the US has traditionally acted as the primary mediator.
According to an Iranian diplomat involved in the discussions, Beijing was willing to help narrow the gap between Tehran and Riyadh during talks in Oman and Iraq.
The involvement of China, a major global power, helped to break the diplomatic impasse that had lasted for seven years.
The move has upended dynamics in the Middle East, with China emerging as a new player in the region’s politics.
The deal covers a range of issues, from security to economic and political matters. Neither country is set to be a source of instability for the other, according to an Iranian official.
Iran will use its regional influence to help preserve Riyadh’s security. “Both sides will do their best to preserve security in the Persian Gulf, guarantee the oil flow, and work together to resolve regional issues, while Tehran and Riyadh will not get involved in military aggression against each other,” the official said.
The reconciliation deal has significant implications for the region. Saudi Arabia, which cut ties with Iran in 2016, stands to gain improved security from the deal, which could pave the way for Saudi investment in Iran. In 2019, the kingdom blamed Iran for attacks on its oil installations that disrupted half of its supply.
However, Iran denied involvement, and a Yemeni group claimed responsibility. Hostility between the two powers has threatened stability in the Middle East and fueled regional conflicts, including in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.
The negotiations were led by Iran’s senior national security official, Ali Shamkhani, who is an ethnic Arab, according to a regional source who is part of Khamenei’s inner circle.
The deal is a significant step towards regional peace and stability, and China’s involvement has demonstrated its growing role in the Middle East’s politics.