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Iran-Saudi Arabia diplomatic agreement

  • Published
    11th Mar, 2023
Context

Recently, Iran and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to resume diplomatic relations which were brokered by China. 

Background (Tensions between Iran-Saudi Arabia)

  • The feud between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a struggle for regional dominance and religious supremacy.
  • The Middle East regional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia have had tense relationships since 2016
  • Over the years both countries have supported proxies across the region, including in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
  • Iran has supported Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen who forced out the Saudi-backed government in 2014, while Saudi Arabia has responded with a devastating air campaign against the Houthis since the following year.
  • In January 2016, Saudi Arabia cut its diplomatic ties with Iran after its embassy in Tehran was attacked by demonstrators following Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shia Muslim cleric.
  • In 2019, drones and missiles struck major Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which was blamed on Iran causing a further tense situation. 
  • Previously, there have been many attempts to broker a peace deal between the two countries but without any success. 

Key highlights of the Agreements

  • The agreement has been brokered by China
  • According to the agreement, Iran and Saudi Arabia will resume diplomatic relations after 7 years and reopen embassies within two months. 
  • The countries will also re-establish trade and security relations.

Impacts on the region 

  • The agreement will complement the ongoing peace efforts in the region. 
  • In September 2022, Israel, the US and UAE signed the Abraham Accords which paved the way for the resumption of trade and diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE. 
  • The latest agreement will lead to improved regional stability and security as well as increased cooperation among Persian Gulf nations. 

Impacts on India 

  • India has been walking tight a tightrope in balancing its ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia over the years. 
  • Both of these countries are important for India for its trade, connectivity and energy security. 
  • Normal trade and diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia will provide India with an opportunity to increase its cooperation in the extended neighbourhood.
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