Tehran, Iran — In a deal mediated by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia have decided to resume diplomatic ties. While this agreement may have broad ramifications, observers believe the primary difficulty will be to build on it. The two foreign ministers of the two nations will meet to discuss diplomatic posts within two months, according to the deal inked in Beijing on Friday, bringing an end to a seven-year divide.
The agreement was mostly praised by senior authorities in Iran as a step towards easing tensions and enhancing regional security. The primary topic of discussion in conservative media sites was how the agreement represented a “loss” for Israel and the United States.
When Riyadh severed political ties with Tehran in 2016 following an assault on one of its diplomatic missions, some of the same sites had rejoiced.
Demonstrators broke into the missions after a prominent Shia Muslim leader was put to death in the monarchy with a Sunni majority.
At that time, Saudi authorities had also been criticized by Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.
However, none of the Iranian government representatives or state-affiliated media are currently outwardly expressing pessimism as the April 2021 talks have now been successfully concluded thanks to the efforts of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who visited Saudi Arabia in December and hosted Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi last month.
Several people in the area, including Iraq and Oman, who had previously assisted in mediating the negotiations, hailed the reconciliation on Friday with cautious hope while the US did not.
‘High level of distrust’
Although the deal is a step in the right direction, political expert Diako Hosseini of Tehran believes there are still many more to come.
Since it does not want to be subject to US sanctions, Saudi Arabia will probably continue to be circumspect in its business ties with Iran. According to Hosseini, “Normalization does not necessarily imply that the two sides trust one another. Nonetheless, there may still be a wide range of interests on both sides involved in defusing tensions in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
The eight-year conflict in Yemen, where Iran and Saudi Arabia back opposing factions, may cease with the deal, according to Hosseini, but it would be a challenging aim to accomplish.
The trend of decreasing tensions may be reversible due to the high degree of mistrust and the ferocity of geopolitical conflicts. To succeed, both nations must start ongoing, sustained efforts and test trustworthy strategies that would ensure shared interests, he added.
China, in Hosseini’s opinion, was the major beneficiary of the accord since it increased the legitimacy of its influence throughout the region.
The US can no longer disregard China’s participation in the security arrangements of the Persian Gulf, a region where the energy reserves and routes are more essential to the Chinese economy than the US, he said. As a result, China effectively became the agreement’s guarantee.