Saudi-Iranian agreement to restore diplomatic relations

10 Mar 2023

Saudi-Iranian agreement to restore diplomatic relations

By Al Mayadeen English

March 10, 2023


Iran and Saudi Arabia will reopen diplomatic missions in their respective countries following negotiations in Beijing.

After seven years of strained ties, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic relations and reopen missions in respective countries after a series of talks brokered in Beijing, China under the auspices of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday.

According to the joint statement, "the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic ties and reopen embassies and missions within two months of talks."

Moreover, Iran and Saudi Arabia said they "thank the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting the talks held between the two sides in 2021 and 2022, as well as the leaders and government of the People's Republic of China for hosting and supporting the talks held in that country." 

It is worth noting that diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia grew strained following the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr in January 2016.

Sheikh Al-Nimr was a vocal critic of the Saudi government. 

The Sheikh raised his voice against corruption and political injustice inflicted on marginalized groups that constitute minorities in different regions of the Kingdom, notably Al-Qatif. 

The Saudi authorities arrested him in 2011 for participating in protests in the Eastern Province calling for political reform. They executed Al-Nimr and 46 others under the pretext of "fighting terror" only to oppress dissidents and opponents.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council stated that he had conducted intensive negotiations with his Saudi counterpart to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries.

Shamkhani added that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's visit to China, earlier this year, led to new and crucial negotiations between the two respective delegations.

He stressed that eliminating misunderstandings and looking towards the future in relations between Riyadh and Tehran will lead to strengthening regional security and expressed appreciation for China's constructive role in supporting the development of relations between countries to enhance levels of international cooperation.

Shamkhani acknowledged Iraq and Oman's efforts and pointed out that the five rounds of negotiations that took place in the two countries before the Beijing negotiations were influential in reaching the final agreement.

Moreover, the foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia will meet to implement this agreement and make the necessary arrangements for the exchange of ambassadors soon.