- March 15, 2023

Saudi official: China has leverage on Iran to enforce compliance with agreement

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping

China has leverage on Iran and Tehran will find it difficult to explain if it does not honor the agreement signed with Saudi Arabia in Beijing, a Saudi official said on Wednesday.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to re-establish relations after years of hostility following talks in China.

The official, who declined to be named, said China is in a unique position as it enjoys exceptional relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The most difficult topics in the talks with Iran were related to Yemen, the media, and China’s role, the official said.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to re-establish relations after seven years of hostility which had threatened stability and security in the Gulf and helped fuel conflicts in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria.

“This is a victory for dialogue, a victory for peace, offering major good news at a time of much turbulence in the world,” the Chinese foreign ministry cited Wang Yi as saying at the close of the dialogue.

Previously undisclosed talks between the two were held March 6-10 by top security officials from Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Chinese capital, according to a tripartite joint statement of the countries released by China’s foreign ministry.

In the statement, the three parties expressed their willingness to make “every effort” to strengthen international and regional peace and security.

The landmark deal is a diplomatic win for China in a region where geopolitics has been dominated by the US. It also comes as China calls for dialogue over Russia’s war in Ukraine, amid accusations from the West that Beijing has not done enough on the issue.

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