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Will Iran and Saudi Arabia Ever Become Friends?

(Last Updated On: 8 March 2021)

One summer I was staying in a hotel in the coastal North African town of Hammamet. My first evening there, and while I was in the lobby, I met a Saudi Arabian chemistry professor drinking a beer and surfing the web using an iPad. We talked and it turned out we shared some interests. One of these was politics. As we progressed in our chitchat one question popped up into my mind—one that I’d been curious about and more curious hearing a Saudi’s opinion on the issue. So, in the middle of the conversation, I threw at him a question: “Don’t you think that one day Iran and Saudi Arabia would be strong allies, the way Israel and America are, collaborating with each other militarily and economically? I can’t stop thinking how the Middle East would look like if they do so, and more importantly, who’s best interest is served when Saudi Arabia and Iran always stay in conflict?”
 The guy was surprised by the question thrown at him, and he simply ignored the possibility. “Why not, “I thought to myself. I still think about the possibility to this day. You may say that it’s not possible because of “history”. Well history is in the making as long as the world and mankind coexist. When The Suez Canal Company built the Suez Canal in the late 19th century, history changed. The same thing happened when the US built The Panama Canal. Both Canals altered geography and history—in that same order.

Sustainable peace and security require good bilateral relations and regional cooperation between Tehran and Riyadh. Iran and Saudi Arabia have significant differences, but they share common interests in many critical issues, such as energy security, nuclear nonproliferation, and Middle East stability.

Hossein Mousavian, author of Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace

As I am writing this in my daily journal, Biden, and after 5 weeks inside the White House, has just announced more American sanctions on Russia (Because of an attempted Alexei Navalny assassination by poisoning). He has just bombed Iranian targets in Syria (while trying to negotiate with Iran). He is also putting more and more pressure on Saudi Arabia after The US Intelligence came to the conclusion—one that was intentionally communicated to the public—that Mohammed Bin Salman (aka MBS) was the one pulling the strings, orchestrating the Jamal Kashuqgi’s murder in Turkey, an event that neither journalists nor the people of Istanbul will ever forget.

Nothing is impossible in politics. But, it seems the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia becoming regional allies, getting together, and going over all the conflicts of the past, is unlikely to happen in the near future—though I think it is still possible, under the right circumstances.

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