Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after seven years of tensions.
The major diplomatic breakthrough was negotiated by China, that lowers the chance of armed conflict between the Mideast rivals, both directly and in proxy conflicts around the region.
The deal, struck in Beijing this week amid China’s ceremonial National People’s Congress, represents a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese government as Persian Gulf states perceive the United States to be slowly withdrawing from the wider Middle East.
It also comes as diplomats have been trying to end a years-long war in Yemen, a conflict in which both Iran and Saudi Arabia are deeply entrenched.
The two countries released a joint communique with China, which apparently brokered the agreement as President Xi Jinping was awarded a third five-year term as leader earlier Friday.
Iranian state media posted images and video that it described as being taken in China of the meeting. It showed Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, with Saudi national security advisor Musaad bin Mohammed al-Aiban and Wang Yi, China’s most senior diplomat.
“After implementing of the decision, the foreign ministers of both nations will meet to prepare for the exchange of ambassadors,” Iranian state television said. It added that the talks had been held over four days.