It is not an easy task to start a new relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia, although in politics anything is possible.
The two states barricaded themselves behind their differences in political doctrine. Yet they try! So far, they have completed three rounds of talks aimed at restoring diplomatic ties and establishing field roles to strengthen bilateral ties. But it seems that the fourth round of discussions is having difficulties.
Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh were severed in early 2016 after the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran. This led to complications in the relationship. But in fact, it was an accumulated difference between the two states that led to a stalemate. One of the most important reasons has to do with the different alliances that each state leads where each party is part of conflicting alliances that have a different set of priorities in the (Persian) Gulf and the Arab region.
Many attribute the differences between the two states to a competition to become the leader of the Islamic world. Others attribute it to sectarian differences. Nevertheless, the same kind of differences confront the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It’s on the surface, and what lurks below is deeper than it seems, since the differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia are based on political-ideological disagreements.
Saudi Arabia views Iran’s Islamic revolution as a threat to the Saudi monarchy, since the early days of the revolution in 1979.
On the other hand, discussions opened on social networks and in TV programs always refer to the following files. One of the most important issues is Yemen. The Arab alliance against Yemen faces catastrophic defeats, especially for the Saudis, who accuse Iran of supporting the Houthis in the war against the intervention of the “Arab” Alliance in Yemen.
“The Arab alliance against Yemen faces catastrophic defeats, especially for the Saudis.”
The Alliance’s attitude is inconceivable. They act as if the Houthis represent a strange militia that must be controlled, and not as part of the Yemeni population. Moreover, the Arab Alliance, as it is called, is in its reality a Saudi-UAE-American-Israeli alliance.
The second issue is the relationship between Iran and Hezbollah, the Islamic resistance in Lebanon. Hezbollah has officially declared its support for Yemeni resistance to intervention. The gap between Hezbollah and the Saudis has been deep since the suspect role the latter played in supporting the “Israeli” war against Lebanon in 2006 to disarm Hezbollah. This fact has been stated in many speeches of Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah.
The fourth file is the relationship between Iran and al-Hashed al-Shaabi in Iraq. The Saudis are insisting that Iran sever ties with the group and stop supporting its fighters. They even call these groups Militias. They don’t even see them as part of the Iraqi population, which fought against ISIS, a terrorist group that played a destructive role in plunging Iraq into chaos and chaos.
In fact, the Saudis see that their role in Iraq should be more important because Iraq is an Arab country, and the ties should be closer; however, he lost his grip in favor of Iran.
The fifth case is the Syrian case. Saudi Arabia is treating the case as if Syria were a quasi-state and its case had to go through agreements between the parties. The Saudi monarchy is holding a venom against President al-Assad. Recall, the minute Mr. Assad described Arab leaders in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as half-men, in a speech he gave after the “Israeli” war on Lebanon in July 2006 During this period, Iranian-Syrian relations were more marked. improvement and have become more strategic and more boring to their enemies especially “Israel”.
The sixth dossier is definitely linked to support for Palestinian resistance inside Palestine. Without a doubt, Hezbollah participates in this support which greatly concerns the Americas and the Israelis. Ideologically, the axis of resistance, in particular Hezbollah, believes in the end of Israeli existence.
The six points mentioned above are the key points holding back the progress of the Vienna talks between Iran and the G5 + 1. In fact, it’s hard not to consider them, since most of the controversial issues with Saudi Arabia also revolve around the same points. Therefore, it is difficult to think about a real deal between the Saudis and the Iranians without the US deal. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand the means behind the expected results that ensure the peace and security of “Israel”.
In addition, an American retaliatory airstrike took place 10 days after an attack on American targets on February 15 in Iraq; the airstrike targeted, as the BBC describes them as, Iranian-backed militias, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, who are allied with the government in Damascus, on the borders between Boukamal in Syria and Qaim in Iraq.
The BBC explains that the message to Tehran behind the airstrike is: “Just because we’re ready to sit down and talk doesn’t mean [that] your agents in the region can do whatever they want. The BBC continues, “The message came at a time when the Biden administration is looking for ways to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.”
Additionally, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the strike was intended to punish the militias but not to escalate tensions with Iran. Taking into consideration, since 2009, the United States has designated the two groups as terrorist organizations, accusing them of threatening the peace and stability of Iraq.
Looking at the process of restoring Iranian-Saudi ties, Saudi Arabia’s intention was not really clear when Iran declared the second round of talks on April 21. However, the Saudis did not even confirm the information about the first round, held in Baghdad, until it was revealed by the American press. The Saudi attitude towards conformation is not fully understood. They appear to have been drawn into the talks by the Americans. However, talks were suspended at the same time that Iran’s indirect talks with the Americans to revert to the nuclear deal were suspended.
It became known that the Iranians refused to include the Saudis in the neo-nuclear talks. Both states see the other side as a source of instability in the region; although the two sides have started new talks since April. The main problem Saudi Arabia is rushing towards is the cessation of Iranian support for the Houthis in Yemen. However, the other list is mostly made up of American demands, which the Saudis are including in order to restore normal relations with Iran.
According to France Presse, at the end of April, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Selman declared: “He hopes for a good relationship with Iran”. This recognition was then affirmed by the statement of Mr. Faissal bin Farhan, the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, the same article quotes it: “We hope that the Iranians will see that in their interest it is to work with their neighbors of a positive way that leads to security, stability and prosperity… I can only hope. However, stability and prosperity are two big words that Saudi Arabia cannot fully understand outside of the American context.
As a result, the Biden administration recently said it was ready to resume talks with Iran as soon as possible under the leadership of Ibrahim Raisi. Therefore, the Saudi will follow. The United States has said it must complete and seal the nuclear deal. It’s cleverly timed. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan is supposed to complicate the regional situation and push Iran to conclude the nuclear deal in America’s best interests. And that is why the Saudis are waiting for US approval to recognize whether or not Saudi-Iranian talks will be in the best interests of the Americans and “the Israelis.”