Joe Biden’s ears must still be ringing after the proverbial slap the Chinese delivered by brokering an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations.
The intense but secretive negotiations held in Beijing lasted five days.
The March 10 announcement not only surprised seasoned observers but also left the Americans shell-shocked.
They had no clue what was underway until the announcement was dropped like a bomb shell.
Tehran was represented in the talks by the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani.
The Saudi side was led by their national security adviser Musaid Al Aiban.
The talks were facilitated by the director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party Wang Yi.
It needs recalling that diplomatic ties were severed by Saudi Arabia following anti-Saudi protests in Tehran in January 2016.
The protests were held to condemn the Saudis’ execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia scholar whose only ‘crime’ was to demand that the Shia population of Saudi Arabia be treated as equal citizens.
Some Tehran protesters caused damage to the Saudi embassy resulting in Riyadh breaking off diplomatic ties.
It needs pointing out that Iran prefers diplomacy to war and dialogue to threats.
Further, it has not attacked any country in more than 250 years.
If subjected to aggression, however, Iran has shown that it is quite capable of giving a fitting response.
Iran proved this in the eight-year-imposed war (September 1980–August 1988) by the Iraqi tyrant Saddam Husain.
The Iran-Saudi agreement struck in Beijing once again proved that the US no longer calls the shots in international relations.
While Iran broke off US shackles with the success of the Islamic revolution in February 1979, the Saudis were until recently still taking orders from Washington.
No more, it seems.
Before the March 10 agreement, most observers were expecting talks between Saudi and Iranian diplomats would be held in Baghdad which had facilitated five rounds of talks since April 2021.
There were even hints that the foreign ministers of the two countries might soon meet in Baghdad.
Both Iran and Saudi Arabia thanked Iraq and Oman that had facilitated interaction between the two countries.
The Iran-Saudi talks came about after a meeting between Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing last month.
“As a result of the talks, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months,” the joint statement said.
It was also announced that foreign ministers of the two countries will meet to “implement this decision and make the necessary arrangements for the exchange of ambassadors.”
What was agreed upon?
The joint statement said Iran and Saudi Arabia will respect each other’s national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.
There was also a surprising reference to a ‘security cooperation agreement’ signed between the two countries in April 2001 as well as another accord reached in May 1998.
This latter agreement related to boosting economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific, cultural, sports and youth affairs cooperation.
The agreement has much broader regional implications.
It has been a decades-long policy of the American imperialists and zionist colonialists to isolate Islamic Iran.
One of their major targets has been Saudi Arabia to keep it riled up against Islamic Iran.
The Iran-Saudi agreement has put paid to this disruptive tactic.
It must be pointed out that the agreement to restore diplomatic ties does not mean all differences between the two sides have disappeared.
Far from it.
Iran is an Islamic Republic where elections are held regularly for people to choose their representatives.
Saudi Arabia is a medieval monarchy based on archaic tribal customs.
In that sense, the two countries’ outlooks are poles apart.
Countries, however, do not maintain diplomatic ties only with countries whose internal systems are identical.
If this rule were applied, few countries would have diplomatic relations with anyone.
What is important in international relations is to keep the channels of communications open in order to help facilitate dialogue and understanding.
It also helps to keep the arrogant disruptive powers at bay.
Iran has long advocated that regional security should be the responsibility of regional states, not outside powers whose illegal presence only creates instability.
If the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia is properly implemented, it will deal a major blow to the US-zionist disruptive machinations.
The global architecture is fast changing and the US is no longer in the driving seat.
This was also on display with the Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan visiting Moscow the same day as the Iran-Saudi agreement was announced in Beijing.
He had gone to brief Russian officials, rather than the Americans!