Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to restore ties after years of tensions


Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed Friday to restore diplomatic relations, a surprise breakthrough after years of soaring tensions between the regional rivals.

The deal, which will see the two countries reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, was sealed during a meeting in China — a boost to Beijing’s efforts to rival the United States as a broker on the global stage.

The deal was first announced on Iranian state TV and later outlined in a joint communique from Tehran, Riyadh and Beijing that was published by the Saudi Press Agency, the country’s official news agency.

“Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” Psalm 83:4

Iranian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against Saudi Arabia outside its embassy in Tehran (Atta Kenare / AFP via Getty Images file )

It came after intensive negotiations between Ali Shamkhani, a close adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni, and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State Musaad bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, the statement said. They took place because of a “shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them through dialogue and diplomacy, and in light of their brotherly ties,” it said.

It added that the foreign ministers from both countries would “meet to implement this, arrange for the return of their ambassadors, and discuss means of enhancing bilateral relations.”

Tensions have simmered between Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is majority Shiite, for decades.

The two countries have been locked in an intensifying struggle for regional dominance, their rivalry exacerbated by religious differences and the war in Yemen in which both countries are deeply entrenched.

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