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Mediated By China, Iran And Saudi Arabia Restore Ties

Above photo: China, which mediated the agreement announced on Friday, has built closer economic ties with both Iran and Saudi Arabia in recent years. Saudi Press Agency/DPA/Reuters.

There Are Winners And Losers.

NOTE:  Reuters reports that yesterday the United States announced new punitive measures against entities that are doing business with Iran and called financial institutions that process transactions with Iran “shadow banks.” That must be the new term for banks that refuse to uphold the US’ illegal sanctions. Reuters writes:

“Many of the entities designated on Thursday are based in the UAE and Hong Kong, according to the Treasury website. The Treasury accused companies operating out of Hong Kong – including Foraben Trading Limited, Hongkong Well International Trading Limited, and Salita Trade Limited – of transferring millions of dollars related to petrochemical sales to China.

The Treasury Department’s top sanctions official, Brian Nelson, traveled to the UAE earlier this year, where he planned to warn officials about “poor sanctions compliance,” a department spokesperson said at the time. Nelson also visited Turkey on the trip to warn that Washington will continue to aggressively enforce its sanctions.”

In response:

“Liu Pengyu, spokesman for China’s embassy in Washington said the U.S. actions had no basis in international law and were ‘typical unilateral sanctions and illegal ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ that were detrimental to Chinese interests.

The world is rejecting the United State’s rogue and coercive actions that cause suffering and death in targeted countries.  – Margaret Flowers

This is huge!

Regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to restore ties after years of tensions

The deal, which will see the two countries reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, was sealed during a meeting in China and announced Friday in a joint communique. Archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed Friday to restore diplomatic relations, a dramatic breakthrough brokered by China after years of soaring tensions between the regional rivals. The deal, which will see the two countries reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, was sealed during a meeting in China — a boost to Beijing’s efforts to rival the United States as a broker on the global stage.

The agreement also may put a dampener Israel’s ongoing efforts to normalize relations with its Arab neighbors.

The talks were held because of a “shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them through dialogue and diplomacy, and in light of their brotherly ties,” according to a joint communique from Tehran, Riyadh and Beijing that was published by the Saudi Press Agency, the country’s official news agency.

The agreement followed intensive negotiations between Ali Shamkhani, a close adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni, and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State Musaad bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, according to the statement.

It added that the foreign ministers from both countries would “meet to implement this, arrange for the return of their ambassadors, and discuss means of enhancing bilateral relations.”

The joint statement by Saudi Arabia, Iran and China is here:

In response to the noble initiative of His Excellency President Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, of China’s support for developing good neighborly relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran; And based on the agreement between His Excellency President Xi Jinping and the leaderships in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, whereby the People’s Republic of China would host and sponsor talks between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran;

Proceeding from their shared desire to resolve the disagreements between them through dialogue and diplomacy, and in light of their brotherly ties; …

Congrats to China for nudging this deal forward and making it possible.

There are winners and losers in this.

The winners are:

  • Iran, which will now be even more able to break through the sanctions wall the U.S. has put up around it.
  • Saudi Arabia, which now will likely be able to end its disastrous and costly war on Yemen.
  • China, for outplaying the U.S. State Department by achieving this.
  • Iraq, Syria, Yemen as they will become more peaceful as the two middle powers influencing policies on their grounds end their rivalry.

The losers are:

  • Israel, because the chances for its attempts to get the U.S. into a war with Iran are now diminished. Its hoped for coalition with the Saudis will not come into being.
  • The U.S. for having been outplayed on its traditional ‘home grounds’ in the Middle East.
  • Anti-Iran hawks everywhere.
  • The Emirates for losing at least some of the sanction busting trade with Iran to Saudi Arabia.

This renewal of relations will change the Middle East:

Tensions between Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is majority Shiite, have dominated the region for decades. The two countries have been locked in an intensifying struggle for dominance, their rivalry exacerbated by proxy conflicts, including the war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and the site of its two holiest cities, has historically seen itself as the leader of the Muslim world. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 shook Saudi Arabia and other Gulf kingdoms, which saw the regime in Tehran as a rival.

While tensions brewed for years, Saudi Arabia broke off ties in 2016 after protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran and set fire to the embassy in Tehran.

Days earlier, Saudi Arabia had executed the prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

“Clearing up the misunderstandings and looking to the future in Tehran-Riyadh relations will definitely lead to the development of regional stability and security and the increase of cooperation between the countries of the Persian Gulf and the Islamic world to manage the existing challenges,” Shamkhani said Friday after signing the deal, according to Press TV.

In 2016 I describe the killing of Nimr al-Nimr as a smart move in the sense of Saudi domestic realpolitik. But I also said that it would lead to escalating costs in Saudi Arabia’s regional policies, predominantly in Yemen. That indeed proved to be the case.

Reviving relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran will make a lot of new things possible.

That Iran and Saudi Arabia accepted China’s mediation is a recognition of Beijing’s new standing in world policies. That alone is enough reason for the White House to hate the deal.

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