Iran & Saudi Arabia ending years of hostility & a win-win situation for China
This comes after years of hostility, when in 2016, Riyadh broke off ties with Tehran. Iranian protesters had converged upon the Saudi Embassy in Tehran when Riyadh executed 47 people in one day. It included Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric, vocal in his views against the Saudi government.
China offered diplomatic turf to both countries to come to reestablish diplomatic channels. As a result, embassies will be opened by both within two months of the agreement.
As per the text of the communique issued by Iran, SA and China [published by the Saudi Press Agency], one line is a harbinger of better days to come in the Middle East. ‘…..and the agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states.’
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There is also a plan in pipeline to cooperate on areas critical for countering terrorism like money-laundering & smuggling of drugs. Money usually used for supporting terrorism.
Middle East has usually been influenced by US. Largely considered as an American domain of influence. This achievement in brokering a deal between Riyadh & Tehran is huge. It has taken China to the next league.
China has over the past two decades, increased its interaction with the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members: Qatar, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain. China is a trading partner with many Cooperation Council (GCC) states. More significantly with Saudi Arabia and UAE. China is Saudi Arab’s top trading partner. It imports primary plastics and crude oil from Saudi Arab and exports electronics, textiles and machinery there. ‘In the first 10 months of 2022, China’s Saudi oil imports reached 1.77 million barrels per day, valued at $55.5 billion, according to Chinese customs data.’ [Arab News]
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On the flip side, China is the biggest oil customer and trading partner of Iran.
But it’s not just about trading. Tehran sees Beijing as an ally against US global influence, interestingly, Beijing sees Tehran as a country whose presence in her camp can help towards decreasing US influence in Middle East while increasing Beijing’s influence in the region.
The diplomatic round for now goes to China!
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The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @yasmeen_9
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