Iranian officials are trumpeting the recent China-brokered diplomatic rapprochement with Saudi Arabia as a political and economic triumph. Statements are focusing on the potential dividends that can arise for the Islamic Republic’s sanctioned economy from a possible boost in trade with existing Gulf partners such as Dubai. Just as important is the potential for trade with and investment from Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, China’s involvement in brokering a deal to restore Iran-Saudi diplomatic relations, some seven years after they were severed in 2016 (MEES, 8 January 2016), has been portrayed by many as an indicator of waning US influence in the region. This despite the talks having begun two years ago with implicit blessing by Washington. (CONTINUED - 1068 WORDS)