China’s New Deal Causes Panic For Washington, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Friday Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement that would allow them to re-establish the relations between their two countries. The deal was brokered by China which has led to many questions about the role of the U.S. in the Middle East and how that was changing.

The diplomatic agreement was brokered over four days and it included discussions with senior security officials in Beijing. The agreement is going to help ease the tensions that have developed in the region over the past seven years of hostilities.

Both nations have now announced that diplomatic relations would be resumed, which also means that embassies are going to open up again by both nations within the next two months.

Alex Vatanka, the director of the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute, has noted that the Iran-Saudi Arabia deal is an important step for the region, but has questioned whether it would be enough to end the violence in the region, including the situation in war-torn Yemen. The two nations have been opposing different sides in the civil war, with Saudi Arabia backing Yemen’s government, and Iran supporting the Houthis’ opposition.

Vatanka stated that it is not yet clear whether they have had a meaningful dialogue and that simply opening embassies does not necessarily mean they have had a meaningful dialogue.

Saudi Arabia, a dominant Sunni Muslim country, and Iran, a Shiite Mulsim country, cut ties in 2016 after protests in Iran stormed the Saudi Arabia embassy following the execution of a Shiite Muslim cleric and other prisoners.