The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Saudi Arabian 10 Mar 23 signed Agreement, the Region and Yemen Future
The signing of the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia on the 10 Mar 23 after seven years of severed relations was welcomed by many, thanks to the intervention of China and assistance of Oman and Iraq. The future could be bright should Iran play its part in the agreement. This will be not the end of the problems in the Middle East. Iran in the past has boasted that it is the greatest supporter and provider of security for the Region. Several questions have evolved. Firstly, is the Iran-Saudi deal a way of Iran disengaging in Yemen without losing face? Due to sanctions imposed on Iran the money that it spent on ‘supporting’ the Yemeni Houthi’s has not achieved anything whereas the finances could be channelled to fund Iran’s other proxies. At the moment Iran has agreed to stop arming the Houthi’s. The signs are according to the Iranian Tasnimne news that Iran supports efforts for a peace plan. Although this has been said before only for the U.S., Saudi or the British Navy to stop a Dhow with smuggled weapons heading for Yemen. The possibility of a treaty between the factions in Yemen will be dependent on support. A member of the Houthis’ political wing Abdulwahab al-Mahbashi said on the 12 Mar 23 that the agreement has “nothing to do with them as they are not ‘subordinate’ to Tehran.” The Saudi's may have security on its side but will Iran still have the influence? Secondly, there is still Tehran’s influence, support and arming of the Palestinian enclaves, Syria and Hezbollah. Security in the region is a lot more complicated than just the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia agreeing to respect one another and exchanging ambassadors. Thirdly, the agreement does not include the Iranian 'peaceful' nuclear program which is enriching uranium at a level well above the requirement for a passive program. In order to pursue Iranian ideology of dominance it needs to make sacrifices to achieve its long game. Tehran may believe that when the British left the Region in the 1960’s and security in the Middle East was assigned to Riyadh and Tehran that they will again restart that security process. But the agreement was with Iran and Saudi Arabia, not the Islamic Republic of Iran, different ideologies. Iran is already starting to boast that it has a security deal with Iraq, is about to swap ambassadors with Bahrain who also ceased relations with Iran in 2016 and that the building of bridges with the UAE. In the long run this may be an attempt by Iran to divide the nations and support them by attempting to place a wedge between Arabian countries, the United States and Israel’s Abraham Accord. China played a significant role in assisting with the détente between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The final question; if it fails where would that leave China and the Islamic Republic of Iran?