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What's next? China arranging cats to marry dogs?

A Historic Handshake

1440 News

Saudi Arabia and Iran formally reestablished diplomatic relations yesterday, a significant milestone in the relationship between two of the largest powers in the Middle East. The pair cut off ties seven years ago after Saudi embassies in Iran were attacked following the Saudi execution of a popular Shia cleric.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been engaged in a regional power struggle for decades, exacerbated by the differing sectarian religious views—Saudi is roughly 90% Sunni Muslim, while Iran is about 90% Shia Muslim (see background). The regional conflict has also become a proxy for greater world powers, with Saudi Arabia generally working with the West and Iran forging close ties with Russia and China.

Notably, the deal was brokered by China, marking one of the country's biggest diplomatic moves in modern geopolitics. Analysts suggest China facilitated negotiations in an effort to gain global prestige, countering the deals made under the Abraham Accords during the Trump administration.

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