International Relations

Analysis of China’s Mediation in Bringing Saudi Arabia and Iran to the Table

The revival of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran as a result of China’s mediation efforts is significant in terms of regional stability and the shifting dynamics of world diplomacy.

What exactly is mediation?

  • Mediation is a deliberate endeavour to resolve conflicts between two parties, and it is important in international relations. We shall address China’s recent mediation efforts that resulted in the reopening of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran in this op-ed.


  • Conflicts in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Since 2016, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been dealing with a number of tensions and conflicts, the most of which are related to Yemen and Syria. However, bilateral efforts to reduce tensions have been underway since early 2016.
  • Bilateral efforts: Talks were held in Baghdad and during Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s February 2023 visit to China. The Emir of Kuwait and the Sultan of Oman took moves that Iran replied to. The assaults on maritime and energy facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) frightened everyone.

China’s Attempts at Mediation

  • Diplomatic connections have been reestablished: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China announced in a joint statement on March 10, 2023, that an agreement has been reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran to resume diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies and missions within two months.
  • The following are the terms of the agreement: The agreement affirmed their respect for state sovereignty, non-interference in state internal affairs, and stated that the Foreign Ministers of both countries would meet to implement this, arrange for the return of their Ambassadors, and discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relations.
  • For example, one agreement and seven accomplishments: Iranian National Security Adviser Ali Shamkhani gave the agreement credence. On March 11, an Iranian newspaper’s analysis described the event as “one agreement and seven achievements,” with the latter listed as

Tehran’s willingness to engage in dialogue;

  • Failure of the United States’ endeavour to isolate Iran; Strengthening of the Islamic Countries’ Alliance; Failure of Israel’s efforts to oppose this accord;
  • Failure of the United States’ efforts to persuade the Iranian public that it has no choice but to accede to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with America; Beijing’s effective foray into West Asian ties; and Failure of hopes of regime change.

American and Israeli Reactions

  • Change in international diplomatic terms of reference in the United States Apart from obvious surprise, US:S replies represented a shift in frames of reference in international diplomacy.
  • Israel has dealt a devastating blow to a regional coalition fighting Iran: Israel, the other main player in the region, was also astonished, seeing it as a devastating blow to the effort to establish a regional alliance against Iran.

The Indian stand

  • India’s reaction to this development has been reserved: Aside from historical ties, the region is in India’s immediate vicinity and within its security constraints.
  • Trade is a priority since it is the primary source of hydrocarbon imports and, increasingly, investments. Apart from being a key economic partner, it is also an important destination for personnel exports.
  • Policy of not interfering in bilateral and regional issues: The official policy has been to focus on bilateral ties and to avoid interfering in bilateral and regional disputes.
  • Given these considerations, India has carefully refrained from speculative ventures in alternate security architectures, other from supporting cooperative security and freedom of waterways and navigation.

@the end

China’s mediation efforts were crucial in getting Saudi Arabia and Iran to the bargaining table. This is a significant development in terms of regional stability and the shifting dynamics of international diplomacy. India’s reaction to this development has been moderate, with the country focusing on bilateral relations and avoiding engagement in regional conflicts. The region should not be considered as a rival to China, and India should not regard itself as a stand-in for those who have been outplayed in power games.

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