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Following the signing of the trilateral agreement between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China on March 10, 2023 in Beijing, the Urdu-language website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA, i.e., the Afghan Taliban) published two articles examining the ramifications of the restoration of Saudi-Iran relations.
In an article, titled "Saudi-Iran Proximity Mediated By China," the Taliban writer Mustansar Hijazi noted the Taliban government's welcome of the resumption of Saudi-Iran diplomatic relations, and added that after America's defeat in Afghanistan, Russia and China "challenged the American position in the Middle East by making reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are the main players in the region, where America has the most influence."
In a second article titled "The Restoration Of Saudi-Iran Relations And Its Impact On The Region," Saif-ul-Adil Ahrar, another Taliban writer, observed: "The Chinese-mediated talks and its success have strengthened the impression that Saudi Arabia has moved away from American influence and extended a hand of friendship to China, which is a sign that the American influence and reach is declining in the entire world."
A screenshot from Mustansar Hijazi's article
Following are excerpts from Mustansar Hijazi's article:
"According to Its Balanced Foreign Policy, The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Considers The Restoration Of Diplomatic Relations Between Saudi Arabia And Iran As Helpful In Paving The Way For Multifaceted Relations And Comprehensive Cooperation In The Region"
"Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have become closer after seven years. The gulf in the severed relations between the two countries has narrowed. This is probably the biggest breaking news of the week. On Friday [March 10], the state media of Saudi Arabia and Iran reported that the two countries have come closer to each other after seven years. The two countries signed an agreement mediated by China.
"Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, signed the agreement on behalf of Iran, while Musaad Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, advisor to the National Security Council, signed on behalf of Saudi Arabia. It has been said in the agreement that both countries will respect each other's sovereignty. They will avoid interfering in each other's internal affairs. Apart from this, the two countries will restore diplomatic relations within two months.
"This agreement was reached between the two countries through the mediation of China. At the end of the talks held in Beijing from March 6 to 10, the representatives of the three countries formally signed the agreement. Also, the 1998 Convention on Science, Technology, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs was also activated. This historic agreement was welcomed by the United Nations and Muslim countries.
"A press release issued by the Foreign Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan welcomed the agreement. It has been said in the press release: 'The ministry of foreign affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan welcomes the resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran and considers it as a positive step toward establishing peace and stability in the region.
"'According to its balanced foreign policy, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers the restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran as helpful in paving the way for multifaceted relations and comprehensive cooperation in the region.' China's facilitations to normalize relations between the two countries was welcomed in the press release."
"After America's Defeat In Afghanistan, China And Russia Are Making Every Possible Effort To Minimize The American Influence In The Region"
"When Were Diplomatic Relations Between The Two Countries Severed?
"Iran and Saudi Arabia are two important countries in the Middle East. Both countries have deep influence on many countries or groups in the Middle East. Apart from Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, a proxy war between Tehran and Riyadh was going on in many other countries of the Middle East. In January 2016, Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr was executed in Saudi Arabia on charges of sedition. As a reaction to this, an angry mob set fire to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran. In response, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador.
"Since then, diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed. In addition, when Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, Saudi Arabia held Tehran responsible for it. Whereas Iran alleged that Saudi Arabia is colluding with Western countries to isolate Iran diplomatically.
"What Will Be The Effect Of Tehran-Riyadh Proximity On International Politics?
"The defeat of America in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine are two such factors that are no less than an earthquake in the politics of the region. After America's defeat in Afghanistan, China and Russia are making every possible effort to minimize the American influence in the region. For this purpose, they challenged the American position in the Middle East by making reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are the main players in the region, where America has the most influence.
"At this time, the U.S. is also not in a position to put pressure on Saudi Arabia. Because they need Saudi Arabia's oil much more than in the past and because of oil, there is a coldness in the relationship between the two countries at the moment. America is afraid of China's position in the region. Fearing China's emerging economy, the U.S. increased its defense budget by $26 billion this year compared to last year. It is currently busy on several fronts. Declining influence in Ukraine, the Middle East and South Asia are signs of a weakening American grip on international politics."
Following are excerpts from Saif-ul-Adil Ahrar's article:
"As The International System Is Changing, China Believes That In Order To Rise, It Must Slowly Cut Down American Influence In The Region And Gradually Solve The Problems Caused By U.S. Foreign Policy"
"Saudi Arabia and Iran have announced that they have begun to normalize relations with the mediation of China. According to which the two countries will open their embassies in Tehran and Riyadh within two months and start discussions for further progress. This development is a major change at regional and international levels. The relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been strained on various occasions after the Iranian Revolution [of 1979], but Iran's support of the Houthi militias in Yemen after the Arab Revolutions has further soured these relations.
"Since the beginning of the Cold War and after the Iranian Revolution, Saudi Arabia has been a friend of the United States. Given the political situation in the region, Saudi Arabia was completely dependent on the United States for security. Whereas Iran constantly spread its influence and reach to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan.
"As the international system is changing, China believes that in order to rise, it must slowly cut down American influence in the region and gradually solve the problems caused by U.S. foreign policy. One of the major issues in the Middle East was the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which China has taken the first step to resolve.
"These efforts between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been made by Iraq and Oman before, but they had not yielded any substantial results. Currently, these relations may make some progress because a strong power like China plays a mediating role. That is why Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to normalize relations because they trust their mediator as a guarantee to some extent."
"The Restoration Of Saudi-Iran Relations Mediated By China Is A Big Message For The U.S. In The Middle East; This Is Great Evidence For The Claim That America No Longer Has Veto Power In The International System"
"The restoration of Saudi-Iran relations mediated by China is a big message for the U.S. in the Middle East. This is great evidence for the claim that America no longer has veto power in the international system. China is playing a mediating role at a time the U.S. is engaged in Ukraine and has been defeated in Afghanistan. The Saudis and Chinese know that the U.S. needs Saudi oil and OPEC because of the war in Ukraine; so, it cannot put pressure on Saudi Arabia.
"China is trying to expand its influence and reach in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and South Asia through trade and diplomacy. In the coming days, new events regarding the new world order may take place. Iran and Saudi Arabia have not held talks in seven years but now they want to talk. This is good news for their neighboring countries because these talks can have direct positive effects on the three neighboring countries which include Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.
A screenshot from Saif-ul-Adil Ahrar's article
"In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is a supporter of the exiled ruler, while Iran is supporting the imposed Houthis. Now, through negotiations between them, peace can be established in Yemen and the end of the long war can be possible. Due to political differences in Lebanon, the process of electing a president has been stalled for months, and now it is expected that Saudi Arabia and Iran will play a role in electing a parliament [in Lebanon] on which everyone can agree.
"Syria also says that the end of the conflict between these two countries is necessary for the end of our war, because due to this war, Syria has been separated from the Arab countries and now it needs supporting countries. However, it is necessary for the objective that Saudi Arabia and Iran should first open their embassies and these steps can be a precursor to new developments in the region.
"On the other hand, the Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan] has also welcomed the restoration of relations between these two brotherly Islamic countries. In a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs, it has been said that these positive steps are important for peace and stability in the region. In the statement, China was also thanked for its role in restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran for stability in the region..."
"The Chinese-Mediated Talks And Its Success Have Strengthened The Impression That Saudi Arabia Has Moved Away From American Influence"
"If Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to fight each other, this will benefit a third power. It is expected the agreement between the two Islamic countries in China will be long-lasting and the disputes between them will be resolved in a thorough diplomatic manner. The restoration of Iran-Saudi relations will improve relations between Muslim countries.
"Various circles have welcomed it and said that the restoration of normalcy between the two Islamic countries is a good omen for the Muslim Ummah. Both effective Muslim states should take the path of consensus and unity instead of mutual tension. This will reduce dependence on the Western world.
"The Chinese-mediated talks and its success have strengthened the impression that Saudi Arabia has moved away from American influence and extended a hand of friendship to China, which is a sign that the American influence and reach is declining in the entire world.
"On the other hand, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has intensified efforts for reconciliation between Turkey and Syria; the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad have started in Moscow; the Kremlin has intensified efforts for reconciliation between Ankara and Damascus.
"In live footage of the meeting between the two leaders on state television, Putin welcomed Bashar Al-Assad, saying that he was very happy to see the Syrian president in Moscow, and thanked Bashar Al-Assad for accepting his invitation. The Russian president further said that we are in constant contact and our relations are improving. The changing situation in the region shows that the influence of the United States is decreasing, and a new change is coming in the world system, which is welcome for weak countries."