Iran-Saudi Talks: No Easing of Tense Relations Expected

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall and Jerusalem Center-Iran Desk - In recent weeks, there have been several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to temper tense relations. However, both countries claim regional Islamic hegemony and are on opposite sides of the historic Shiite-Sunni divide. Iran, which considers itself a defender of the Shiites, is very sensitive to the situation of Shiites in the oil-rich Eastern Province of the Saudi kingdom and assists them in various military and political ways. For its part, Saudi Arabia surreptitiously supports Sunni organizations inside Iran, mostly in Khuzestan province and on Iran's eastern border. Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in the Muslim world cannot be bridged, at least not in the coming years. From time to time, Iran and Saudi Arabia try to present a semblance of "business as usual" and attempt to improve relations between them, but beneath the surface, the historical factors intensified by current developments in the Middle East reflect the depth of the gaping religious chasm between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The two countries are on a permanent collision course.

2021-10-18 00:00:00

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