Officials of Saudi Arabia, Iran and China during the signing of the peace deal.

Maldives resume ties with Iran after Saudi-Iran peace deal

The Maldives followed suit, cutting ties with Tehran in May 2016.

11 March 2023

Maldives on Friday announced plans to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia which has normalised ties with Iran in a deal brokered by China. 

The Maldivian foreign ministry made the announcement hours after Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to re-establish relations after years of hostility that had threatened stability and security in the Gulf and helped fuel conflicts in the Middle East from Yemen to Syria.

"In light of these positive and welcoming developments the government of Maldives has decided to resume diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran," the Maldivian foreign ministry said, in a brief statement welcoming the Chinese brokered peace deal. 

The deal, brokered by China, was announced after four days of previously undisclosed talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle East powers.

Tehran and Riyadh agreed to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies within two months, according to a statement issued by Iran, Saudi Arabia and China. 

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute between the two countries over Riyadh's execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric.

The Maldives followed suit, cutting ties with Tehran in May 2016. 

Maldives took a similar move in 2017 when Saudi Arabia announced that the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt joined it in cutting ties and transport links with Qatar on June 5, 2017. The four nations had alleged that Qatar backed radical extremist organisations and rebel groups backed by Riyadh's rival Iran, which Doha had denied.

The Maldives reinstated full diplomatic relations with Qatar in January 2021, following the Saudi-led coalition's decision to normalise ties with Qatar.