Antony Blinken describes China’s mediation of Iran-Saudi Arabia deal as a good thing

Archive – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken – Michael Brochstein/ZUMA Press Wi / DPA

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described as «a good thing» China’s mediation efforts in the run-up to last week’s signing of the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore their relations.

From our perspective, anything that can help reduce tensions, avoid conflict and in any way reduce Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing actions is a good thing,» Blinken said.

Thus, he stressed that »Saudis and Iranians were talking for a while now, a couple of years, also in Baghdad and Oman». The fact that China has facilitated the finalization of this agreement to restore diplomatic relations is a good thing,» he reiterated.

»I think it’s valuable for countries, wherever they can, to act and take responsibility in advancing security and peaceful relations,» he said, before adding that »it would be positive if this agreement is implemented, particularly if Iran fulfills the commitments it has apparently made.»

The agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to resume diplomatic relations, was signed after Riyadh cut ties with Tehran in January 2016 following an assault on its embassy in Tehran during a protest over the execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric. The pact has been applauded by countries in the region and has opened the possibility for a de-escalation of disputes between the two countries in the Middle East, including the conflict in Yemen.

Following the signing of the agreement, Iran’s National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamjani will pay an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday to address issues related to their bilateral relations, while Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Naser Kanani indicated on Tuesday that it also opened the door to improved relations with Gulf countries, including Bahrain, with which Tehran has a tense relationship.