Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations after seven years and reopen their respective embassies within months, in a deal brokered Friday by China and signed in Beijing. The rapprochement between the two rivals is the latest sign of China’s growing presence in world affairs and waning U.S. influence in the Middle East amid a shift in focus to Ukraine and the Pacific region. “If we have a more stable Middle East, even if it’s mediated by the Chinese, that ultimately is good for the United States, as well,” says author and analyst Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He adds that the U.S. focus in the Middle East is mainly on helping Israel normalize relations with Arab states while “all of the pressure is taken off of Israel to end its occupation” of Palestinian territory.
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