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Saudi Arabia and Iran Renew Ties, Brokered by China, as Biden Falters on World Stage

Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to restore diplomatic relations in an agreement that was brokered by China — a major blow to U.S. efforts to maintain a united front in the Middle East against the Tehran regime.

The Associated Press reported Friday:

Iran and Saudi Arabia on Friday agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after years of tensions between the two countries, including a devastating attack on the heart of the kingdom’s oil production attributed to Tehran.

The deal, struck in Beijing this week amid its ceremonial National People’s Congress, represents a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese as Gulf Arab states perceive the United States slowly withdrawing from the wider Middle East. It also comes as diplomats have been trying to end a yearslong war in Yemen, a conflict in which both Iran and Saudi Arabia are deeply entrenched.

It remains unclear, however, what this means for America. Though long viewed as guaranteeing Mideast energy security, regional leaders have grown increasingly wary of Washington’s intentions after its chaotic 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment over the announced deal.

Under then-President Donald Trump, the Arab nations were united against Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Saudi Arabia was thought to be near a peace deal with Israel. Progress in regional peace deals slowed when President Joe Biden took office; his administration initially refused even to use the term “Abraham Accords.”

There has been limited movement on issues such as Israeli use of Arab countries’ airspace for commercial flights. But the Biden administration has alienated the Saudi regime, and has pursued two years of failed talks to reopen the Iran nuclear deal.

Lately, Biden has also pushed Russia closer to China in his approach to the war in Ukraine.

 

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