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Iran Agrees To Halt Arms Supply To Yemen’s Houthis

Iran has agreed to stop supplying weapons to the Houthi movement in Yemen as part of the deal to restore diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, U.S. and Saudi officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been leading a proxy war in Yemen for years, with Tehran supporting the Houthis, who have frequently attacked or claimed to have attacked Saudi oil infrastructure in recent years. Fighting in Yemen has been ongoing for over seven years now after the Iran-affiliated Houthis overturned the elected president, which prompted Saudi Arabia to wage war on the rebel group. In response, the Houthis have made Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities their preferred target of attacks.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China said in a joint statement, following a week of Saudi-Iranian talks in Beijing.

“The three countries announce that an agreement has been reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, that includes an agreement to resume diplomatic relations between them and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and the agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Now if Iran indeed agrees to halt weapons supply to the Houthis, the movement in Yemen could be forced to seek an agreement to end the war in the Middle Eastern country, Saudi and U.S. officials told the Journal.

The rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran has shaped regional politics in the Middle East in recent years and decades.

Both countries are members of OPEC and are some of its major oil producers, although Iran’s output has declined since 2018 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the so-called Iranian nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian oil industry and exports. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, also leads the OPEC+ agreement with Russia on oil production quotas. Iran is exempted from quotas because of the sanctions against it. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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