China Brokers Historic Agreement Between Regional Rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran

In a major breakthrough in the Middle East, regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to re-establish diplomatic ties and resume diplomatic relations.[0] The historic agreement, which was brokered by China, was announced on Friday after a week of talks in Beijing between the two nations. The two countries have pledged to open embassies and missions within two months, and to respect the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their internal affairs.[1]

The breakthrough comes after seven years of high tensions and violent exchanges between the two countries, and follows several years of talks in Iraq and Oman.[2] The agreement is being seen as a “huge win” for China, who has emerged as a major power broker in the region, and a potential framework for normalizing relations with Israel.

The agreement is a diplomatic victory for China, which has long been a silent partner in the Middle East, but has been reluctant to take an active role.[3] The deal shows how much more effective diplomacy can be when a major power has not ensnared itself in the region’s rivalries, and how China enjoys reasonably good relations with both governments, allowing it to broker a deal that the U.S. likely could never have managed to get.

The agreement is also a sign of a shift in regional alliances, as Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the U.S. has become strained in recent years, while China’s standing has risen.[4] The way in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conducts foreign policy reflects a lot, as the kingdom looks to Chinese and Iranian ties for security, instead of relying on traditional Western allies.[2]

The Biden administration, meanwhile, is facing criticism for their Middle East policy.[5] In a remarkable reversal from his campaign promises, Biden visited Saudi Arabia last summer due to high oil prices caused by Russia's conflict – yet the US received little in return.[6]

Overall, the Saudi-Iranian agreement has been described as a “huge win” for China, and a win for all interested parties, including the United States. China’s mediation is an example of the constructive role that other major powers can sometimes have in the Middle East, and shows how much more effective diplomacy can be when a major power has not ensnared itself in the region’s rivalries.

0. “Saudi Arabia And Iran Agree To Restore Diplomatic Relations”, 10 Mar. 2023,

1. “‘Changing global order’: China’s hand in the Iran-Saudi deal” Al Jazeera English, 11 Mar. 2023,

2. “Why China helping Iran and Saudi Arabia make nice is a very big deal”, 10 Mar. 2023,

3. “Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to resume relations after China mediation” Axios, 10 Mar. 2023,

4. “Iran and Saudi Arabia signal the start of a new era, with China front and center” CNN, 11 Mar. 2023,

5. “‘Not about China’: White House says it ‘welcomes’ Beijing-brokered Iran-Saudi rapprochement” Breaking Defense, 10 Mar. 2023,

6. “Saudis give ‘middle finger to Biden' with Iran peace deal brokered by China” Business Insider, 10 Mar. 2023,

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