March 29, 2023

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Arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to revive ties, reopen embassies in China-brokered deal

Saudi Arabia and Iran on a world map

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Longtime regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies in each other’s countries following China-led negotiations in Beijing, both governments announced via their state media agencies.

“As a result of the talks, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies …within two months,” Iran’s news agency IRNA reported Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s state Saudi Press Agency confirmed the announcement in its own statement.

The Saudi statement profusely thanked Beijing for its leadership in the talks.

“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,” the SPA statement said.

It emphasized the Chinese leader’s role in hosting and sponsoring talks between the Saudi Kingdom and Iran, a process that Riyadh described as “proceeding from their shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them through dialogue and diplomacy, and in light of their brotherly ties.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia have long accused each other of destabilizing the region and regarded one another as grave security threats, often on opposite sides of regional conflicts such as those in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016, after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in response to Saudi authorities executing 47 dissidents, including a leading Shia cleric.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.

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