Just the fact that this deal was brokered at all speaks of China’s growing influence in the region. And this deal was done diplomatically as well.
There is no way this is going to sit well with the US or Israel.
An overview from the Stimson Centre (US Based Think Tank)
At a time of global tension over the war in Ukraine and rising great power competition, the announcement that China has brokered a reconciliation deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia is good news on a number of levels.
Much remains to be learned about the China-brokered arrangement. However it is notable, according to Iranian media, that Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to reimplement two previous accords: one on security cooperation dating back to 2001 and another, reached in 1998, on promoting economic, trade, investment, technical, scientific and people-to-people ties. Both these agreements were reached when Mohammad Khatami was Iran’s president and sought to improve Iran’s relations with regional actors as well as the West. Since that time, China’s clout has risen significantly as a major economic player, while the US reputation has been tarnished by the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
The US reputation has been tarnished by the 200s invasion of Iraq and every colour revolution/destabilization murderous regime change that has followed, as well as the 08/09 financial crisis!
In mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia, China benefited from the fact that it is the major purchaser of oil from both countries. China has been Iran’s number one trading partner since 2010, when Iran was contending with US-led multilateral economic sanctions imposed due to its nuclear advances. China has continued to purchase significant amounts of Iranian crude despite the resumption of US sanctions in 2018 and has become the Iranian regime’s lifeline.
When the Biden administration was inaugurated and sought to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran-Saudi tensions began to ease. Iraq began an effort to mediate between the two countries, but that process lapsed after Iraq changed prime ministers last year.
There will be some who see Friday’s news as diminishing the perception of US power, but Americans should welcome this agreement. It shows that China can be a constructive player in a crisis-ridden region at a time when much of the rest of the world is preoccupied by the war in Ukraine.
(Stimson is mistaken in their presentation here- the fact that China, Saudi Arabia and Iran could work this deal out makes very clear the rest of the world is NOT occupied with Ukraine)The news may annoy some in Israel, who yearn for a US-Israeli-Arab military alliance against Tehran. But Persian Gulf Arab infrastructure’s clear vulnerabilities to destruction by Iranian missiles and drones mean that such an alliance was always a stretch.
If Iran and Saudi Arabia follow through on their pledges and restore normal diplomatic ties in the next two months, this should help solidify a fragile truce in Yemen’s brutal civil war and benefit other regional conflicts. It could help boost Lebanon’s battered economy and also bring benefits to Iraq and Syria.
I agree with the above paragraph- Yemen could calm right down. Potential game changer for Syria. Lebanon too.
Some of those who seek quick regime change in Iran will likely be disappointed by this move, (Israel/US) especially if it leads Saudi Arabia to reduce support for Iran International, a Persian-language satellite channel that has strongly promoted recent protests in Iran and given a big platform to exiled contenders to replace the theocrats at Iran’s helm. The Mujaheddin-e Khalq, another foreign-based Iranian opposition group that has benefited in the past from Saudi largesse, may also see a reduction in resources.
If China—whose president, Xi Jinping, was just re-inaugurated for a third term—wants to build on this achievement, it could start by convincing Iran to accept a deal reviving the JCPOA that has been pending since last August. This would not only facilitate Iran-China trade and investment but also reduce concerns about regional nuclear proliferation by the Saudis, among others.
For those in the West who now see China as the only “near-peer competitor” to the US, threatening US interests in the Pacific and scooping up Americans’ personal information via smartphone apps, the Iran-Saudi deal is a reminder that big powers can also contribute to peace through diplomacy. The US, which has had no diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980, was in no position to broker this agreement. Thankfully, China was and did.