Creating new perspectives since 2009

CIA chief visits Saudi Arabia to express frustration about Iran rapprochement

April 8, 2023 at 4:01 pm

CIA Director William Burns on 10 March 2022 [Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images]

CIA Director Bill Burns paid an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia, expressing frustration about Riyadh’s recent rapprochement with Iran, according to a report, says Anadolu Agency.

Burns told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the US felt “blindsided” by Riyadh’s rapprochement with Iran and Syria – Washington’s global rivals – according to the Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter.

It cited a US official who said Burns discussed cooperation on intelligence and counterterrorism with Saudi officials.

Beijing last month hosted officials from longtime regional rivals Riyadh and Tehran, where they agreed to resume diplomatic relations.

Iran and Saudi Arabia severed ties in 2016 after the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was stormed by an angry mob following the execution of a Saudi Shia cleric.

READ: CIA’s Burns reaffirmed intelligence cooperation on Saudi Arabia visit

Starting in April 2021, the two sides took part in marathon talks facilitated by Iraq and Oman but it was Chinese intervention that resulted in a breakthrough last month.

Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran met Thursday in China – their first meeting in more than seven years, according to a statement.