Middle East oil-producing rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran have ended their rift, and have agreed to restore ties and reopen embassies after China brokered a deal between both states. The giants have also agreed to reimplement the 1998 security pact where they agreed to cooperate on terrorism, drug-smuggling and money laundering, as well as reviving trade and technology. The rivalry between predominantly Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia has dominated Middle East politics in recent years, spreading into Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. It further deepened in 2016 when Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital following the execution of a Shi’ite cleric in Saudi Arabia.
However, talks have been ongoing for both parties to end their decades-long rift. On Friday 10th of March 2023, both sides finally agreed to restore ties after China's mediation. The chief mediator was China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, while both the Iranian national security chief, Ali Shamkhani and Saudi national security council adviser, Mosaed Bin Mohammad Al-Aiban signed the treaty on behalf of their respective countries.
In his word, Wang Yi noted that the Chinese government "will continue to play a constructive role in properly handling hotspot issues in today’s world in accordance with the wishes of all countries and demonstrate her responsibility as a major country."
He added that “the world is not limited to the Ukraine issue, and that "The foreign ministers of the two countries will meet each other to implement this decision and make necessary arrangements for the exchange of ambassadors." Before concluding, he noted that “The two sides agree to respect the sovereignty and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.”
According to Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, “The return of normal relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia provides great capacities to the two countries, the region and the Islamic world. The neighbourhood policy, as the key axis of the government’s foreign policy, is strongly moving in the right direction, and the diplomatic apparatus is actively behind the preparation of more regional steps.”