Iran and Saudi Arabia Restore Diplomatic Ties

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

If you are old enough to remember Paul Harvey, you may recall that he used to open some segments with “Just so you don’t run out of things to worry about…”

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Well…

Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to restore diplomatic relations in an agreement brokered by China. This move comes after years of rivalry and several days of negotiating in Beijing, the Wall Street Journal reports. As part of the deal, the Journal said that the Saudis will re-open their embassies and missions in Iran in the next two months, and both have agreed not to intervene in each other’s affairs. This will be interesting, given how close Iran is to achieving its nuclear ambitions and its proclivity toward violence and human rights abuses.

China has everything to gain from the deal that was negotiated in Beijing. Both countries provide China with oil. Al Jazeera notes that XI Jinping was in Riyadh as recently as December meeting with Mid-East oil producers. Notably, the Chinese managed to succeed after previous attempts at bringing the two nations together failed. The two nations have been at odds with one another since 2016, when protestors invaded Saudi diplomatic offices in Iran. Al Jazeera quoted Iranian official Ali Shamkhani:

Removing misunderstandings and the future-oriented views in relations between Tehran and Riyadh will definitely lead to improving regional stability and security, as well as increasing cooperation among Persian Gulf nations and the world of Islam for managing current challenges.

The move also changes the political landscape of the region. And it  sends a message to the Biden administration that the days of the U.S. as a major player in the Middle East are numbered. Not only have the Saudis provided America with oil, but the nation has also been strategically vital for the U.S. military presence in the area. And while Saudi Arabia has been an ally, Iran has constituted a growing threat.

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At this point, you do not need me to lead you through the chain of events in America that has emboldened China and America’s other enemies and even affected relationships with our allies. But while we have been worried about pronouns, EVs, gas stoves, finding racism under every rock, hunting mega-MAGA Republicans, tearing up borders, and dismantling our energy and agricultural infrastructures, China has been busy. Very busy. While we have been fretting about gender, dressing in drag, running around in Handmaid’s Tale outfits, gorging ourselves on TikTok, burning down cities, and defunding the police, China has been at work. This is what happens when you turn the executive and arguably the legislative branch into graduate seminars on Womynx Studies.

Related: New Wave of Protests in Iran

The question is, no matter who takes the White House in 2024, will we be able to make up the lost ground by that point?

 

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