Iran and Saudi Arabia say they have agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies following years of tensions between the two regional foes.
Both governments announced the agreement, which was apparently brokered By China, via their state media agencies on March 10.
The deal, struck in Beijing this week, represents a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese government and comes as diplomats have been trying to end a yearslong war in Yemen - widely seen as a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Iranian state media posted images and video they said were taken in China. They showed Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, with a Saudi official and a Chinese official.
“After implementing of the decision, the foreign ministers of both nations will meet to prepare for exchange of ambassadors,” Iranian state television said, adding that the talks in Beijing were held over four days.
For years, tensions have been high between Tehran and Riyadh, a US ally. The Sunni-ruled kingdom broke off ties with Shia-majority Iran in 2016 after protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic posts in the country. The demonstrations were triggered by the execution of a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.
Tensions have since risen dramatically across the Middle East, particularly after the United States unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers in 2018.
The Islamic Republic has been blamed for a series of attacks in the region recent years, including one that targeted Saudi Arabia’s oil industry in 2019, temporarily halving the country’s crude production.