Amorce de détente entre l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite

Riyadh and Tehran announced to Beijing their decision to restore their diplomatic relations, broken in 2016.

by Ghazal Golshiri, Madjid Zerrouky, Louis Imbert (Jerusalem, correspondent) and Hélène Sallon (Beirut, correspondent)

For seven years, the break between Saudi Arabia and Iran placed the Middle East on the edge of the abyss. The actors of the region clung to the tenuous hope of seeing the two enemy powers take up a language to avoid a blast and settle the series of crises and conflicts fueled by their rivalry. To everyone’s surprise, it was from Beijing that Riyadh and Tehran announced, Friday, March 10, the restoration of their diplomatic relations, thereby acting the ascent of China as a strategic actor in the region, on American disengagement background.

This relaxation, obtained after more than two years of secret talks in Iraq and then in Oman, could constitute the beginning of a geopolitical turning point. The agreement, which should be finalized during a next meeting between foreign ministers in the two countries, provides that Riyadh and Tehran reapable their embassies within two months and that they reactivate the security and economic agreements which bind. The two powers also undertake not to interfere in their internal affairs.

“The return to normal relations between Tehran and Riyadh offers great possibilities to the two countries, the region and the Muslim world,” assured Twitter the head of Iranian diplomacy, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, adding that his ministry was going to “launch other regional initiatives”, thus strengthening speculation about possible advanced on other regional files, including Lebanon and Syria.

امروز در تماس‌های تلفنی، تبریکات نخست وزیر و وزیر خارجه قطر و وزرای خارجه عراق و عمان را در مورد توافق تهران و ریاض…

– Amirabdolahian (@H.Amirabdollahian امیرعبداللهیان )

The Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, present in Beijing, praised “the end of misunderstandings” and said he is confident that the agreement helps “improve stability and security regional “. His Saudi counterpart, the national security advisor Musaid al-Aiba, said “hoping to continue a constructive dialogue with Iran”, based on “good neighborhood principles”.

persistent rivalry

RCOSIGNARY OF THE CONDUCT, the Chinese Diplomacy Head, Wang Yi, underlined the “wisdom” and the “sincerity” of the two countries. Washington’s reaction, overshadowed for China, is more ambivalent. The American administration supported the talks engaged between Saudi Arabia and Iran, without being associated with it. “It remains to be seen if Iran will fulfill its obligations related to the agreement. It is not a regime used to holding its word,” said the White House.

“It is one more step of the Saudis far from the Americans, when they negotiated with them security guarantees. This deprived them of a lever on Iran,” said Joseph Bahout, director of the Institut Issam-Fares at the American University of Beirut. Bane of Tehran, the United States see their role as guarantor of regional security called into question by Riyadh, who doubts their capacity and their will to contain the expansion of Iran.

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