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A diplomatic thunderbolt with geopolitical impacts
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau 15:31, 2023/03/15
The restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia would reshape the political and security landscape in the Middle East and the Gulf region.

In the midst of severe geopolitical turmoil, the world has been surprised twice. Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed last week to restore diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after seven years of tension. And China played a key role in brokering this major diplomatic breakthrough. Iran and Saudi Arabia are rivals in the Middle East, facing each other both directly and in proxy conflicts across the region.

 A normalization of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia would reshape the political and security landscape in the Mideast and Gulf region. Photo: tehrantimes.com

This deal, signed in Beijing, the capital of China, would justify hopes for a quick and early end to the war in Yemen and a reduction in armed clashes throughout the region. This could also lead to the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program, signed in 2015 by the United States, Iran, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, from which the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018.

The restoration of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia would reshape the political and security landscape in the Middle East and the Gulf region. It directly affects the current geostrategic constellation of the region and the balance of influence between the Sunni and Shiite communities in the Islamic world. It would create a completely new situation and prospects for relations among the countries of the region, as well as between them and the United States and other Western nations, especially between these two countries and the United States and Israel. The United States and Israel, on the one hand, and Iran, on the other, are in an ideological and security confrontation. Saudi Arabia and Israel do not yet have diplomatic relations, and both are important strategic partners of the United States in the region. Thus, the United States and Israel have reason to be deeply concerned about the beginning of a thaw between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. was the biggest loser in this story. Ironically, it was China, not the U.S., that succeeded in brokering the reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, thus winning worldwide recognition, respect and praise. But China's diplomatic success was easy to understand. Unlike the US, China is a very important partner for both Iran and Saudi Arabia. China has already signed long-term strategic cooperation partnerships with both Iran and Saudi Arabia. China's influence in the Mideast and the Gulf region is growing while the US has shifted more and more away from this region.

Besides the US and Israel, many other countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and other Gulf monarchies would soon feel the huge impacts of the return of the diplomatic spring between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.

TAG: china iran arab saudi 2023 china middle east 2023
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