On March 10, 2023, Iran and Saudi Arabia signed a diplomatic agreement after years-long rivalry. According to this deal, both states decided not to interfere in each other internal matters. Previously, both these states were involved in each other internal issues. Also, both states decided to enforce the 1998 pact and 2001 cooperation agreement to cooperate in several sectors, such as trade or economics. Therefore, this deal is an excellent step to normalize the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran. There are several concerns related to this deal, whether this deal is a permanent success or a temporary hope, just like the previous agreements. Moreover, this deal shows the interest of both these states in maintaining peace and security in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia is interested in joining this diplomatic deal. It is an oil-based economy, but now it has started working to diversify its economy. Saudi Arabia is working on its project named Vision 2030. The Neom City is part of this project. Neom means new future. This city will be based on AI technology. Also, it contains daily use necessities at a 5-minute walk and many other facilities.

Saudi Arabia signed this diplomatic deal to avoid any conflict with Iran that could harm its project funding.

Saudi Arabia is now modernizing, and to improve its reputation and attract tourists to Saudi Arabia, they might sign this diplomatic deal. In simple words, Saudi Arabia has economic interests in signing this deal. Consequently, this can lead to peace in the region.

Iran also has an interest in joining this diplomatic agreement. Firstly, the West has imposed sanctions on Iran and isolated it in the region. Therefore, this deal helps Iran overcome the sanctions imposed by the West, especially by the United States. Secondly, the US and Iran relations started worsening in 1979 because of the Iran hostage crisis to date therefore, this deal seems like a de-Americanization of the region, which seems suitable for Iran. In addition to this, Iran might consider this agreement as support for its nuclear policy.

Another vital player in this agreement is China. China plays its role as a mediator to sign this deal between two regional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This deal is a success for China as a great power.

China replaced the US, which was involved in mediating regional conflicts for decades. China is now on its way to becoming a peaceful regional hegemon.

Moreover, China didn’t promise the success of this deal, which is why China wouldn’t face any harm even if the agreement did not work. Furthermore, Iraq and Oman played an essential role between Iran and Saudi Arabia in signing the deal to maintain the region’s security. They set meetings to welcome negotiations between these regional rivals. China is a great power, and its presence has made the agreement credible and difficult to break for both. China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are necessary because of their oil imports. Therefore, China plays a mediator role.

Additionally, China uplifts these states to sell petro Yuan instead of petrodollars. For China, the role of a deal broker provides benefits and gives it a dominant position in the Middle East region. This leads to the changing regional order in the Middle East.

The question arises if this deal successfully improves the relationship between regional rivals and promotes peace in the region or if it’s a short-lived victory and will fade away soon. However, the long-term impacts of this deal are uncertain because of decade-long rivalry and a lack of trust. Besides, Israel’s reaction is also uncertain because now, with its rival Iran, the state of Saudi Arabia has signed a diplomatic deal. Israel’s sense of isolation might lead to conflict in the region. Moreover, any endorsement of Iran’s nuclear policy can escalate the threat to Israel and Saudi Arabia and encourage them to take action against it. However, both states’ national interests keep them from conflict.

The presence of the great power China makes this deal credible for both states as compared to previous agreements. Consequently, the deal’s future is uncertain and will unfold with time.

This diplomatic deal is a successful measure that was taken so far. And it’s a step towards changing regional order in the form of China as a dominant power. However, its success is a question mark because of Saudi Arabia and Iran’s years of long hostility and lack of trust. Another factor is the presence of non-state actors in both states can harm the agreement and bring instability to the region. Finally, this depends on the leaders of both states and their interests in managing their recently built diplomatic relations. They can make or break the agreement through actions, deals, or policies.

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