Alwaght- The significance of historic Iranian-Saudi rapprochement agreement in terms of aspects and effects has been subject to analysis of many regional and international research centers over the past two months.
For a closer look, Andishe Sazan-e Nour Institute for Strategic Studies in a press meeting brought in spotlight various aspects of the agreement. In the meeting, head of the institute Dr. Saadullah Zaree gave a second look at the issues pertaining to the Iranian-Saudi deal.
Mr Zaree opened his words by suggesting that Iran and Saudi Arabia are two historically, religiously, and geopolitically important countries in West Asia and Muslim world. They also have huge energy reserves, he said, adding that they, with this level of capabilities and capacities, can bring about strategic change to the region if they engage in cooperation. What has so far distanced Riyadh from Tehran is foreign intervention, with the Americans in recent decades having tried to exploit the kingdom’s political and economic capacity as a conflicting instrument in the region to fuel the tensions. Under this strategy, in many regional cases, Saudi Arabia has been a party to disputes.
Mr Zaree refuted the notion that all of the tensions in the region are related to Saudi Arabia and Iran and other groups are acting as their proxies. In the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia had no role. Also, in Palestine conflicts, the Saudis have had no hands. Iran stood by the oppressed Palestinian people out of its religious and revolutionary commitments. In Syrian crisis, although some groups were provided arms and funds by Saudi Arabia, it cannot be said that they were fighting on the behalf of Riyadh. The Syrian army and National Defense Forces were not fighting on the behalf of Iran either, and actually were fighting the terrorists for the sake of the country and people. But this wrong notion has taken shape in the region that any tensions in the region are on the behalf of Saudi Arabia and Iran. That is why when the two countries signed the détente deal, all expected the tensions in the region to end, but this did not happen.
Mr Zaree pointed to Yemen war which is described by many a proxy war of Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Republic, he added, has no involvement in this war and Saudi Arabia itself waged it in association with its partners and invaded this country for more than 8 years, and thousands of people have been killed and injured, and now it must answer for its actions and compensate the Yemenis.
The West Asian affairs expert went on saying that the agreement between Tehran and Riyadh took shape out of some needs, and the contacts between officials continue. Just unlike the past talks that had Yemeni linings, these days the talks are focusing on political relations and promise a positive atmosphere. The two countries’ level of relations depends on how far the they can go in negotiation and cooperation.
The Saudis have well understood the global developments
Asked what developments motivated the Iranian-Saudi agreement, Mr Zaree said the Saudis came to believe that the conditions in the region and the world are changing and if they press ahead with their past policies, their interests will be harmed. One of these important issues is launching of the North-South Corridor and the expansion of economic cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, as well as the relative edge of the Russians in the Ukraine war. The internal developments in the Israeli regime, Yemeni Ansarullah's power gain and the possible rejuvenation of missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s failure to fully secure its airspace were issues that forced the Saudis to review their past policies.
Yemen crisis a Saudi-Yemeni issue
Asked about what expectations the Saudis have from Iran concerning Yemen case and if Tehran traded Yemen for an agreement with Riyadh, Mr Zaree held that Tehran holds a view different from that of others and it is that it believes that independence, freedom, and national sovereignty should be for all of countries not just itself. The Islamic Republic does not intervene in internal affairs of countries. It just backs the oppressed and does not eye influence in any country. Based on the anti-Iranian stereotype that Iran supports Yemen, Saudi Arabia expects Iran to take measures in Yemen case. This comes while the Islamic Republic is not a party of interest in this case to give guarantees on the behalf of the Yemeni side, and the Yemenis have not granted Iran such permission to talk on their behalf. In Beijing talks, Iran emphasized on solution to Yemeni crisis and the Saudis made some demands that were logically responded to by Tehran. Iran said that it supports inter-Yemeni dialogue and agreements between Sana’a and Riyadh. It also backs any government that comes to rule with a general agreement of Yemenis. It also backs humanitarian work serving the Yemenis. These are the clear stances of the Islamic Republic and Tehran does not get into the case further.
Trump’s comeback changes nothing
Commenting on possible changes to the Saudi-Iranian relations should Donald Trump come back to power in 2024 elections, Mr Zaree noted that certainly Saudi Arabia and the very Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have made a presumption that Trump could possibly make a comeback. The Saudis have always contributed to Republican victory and now, too, they predict the Republicans to win in the next year elections. Despite this prediction, the crown prince struck a deal with Iran and therefore even Trump’s return does not change the equations. Trump's slogan was that the US does not guarantee the Arab security for free and if they want protection, they should pay for it. This means that the Arabs can no longer set their hearts on Trump's support. Additionally, the military weakness that affected the US is not just a problem of the Democrats but the whole America. We know that shooting down of Global Hawk stealth drone and missile strikes on Ein Al-Assad military base that hosts American troops in Iraq took place under Trump. Therefore, there would be no specific difference in the region even if Trump returns to the White House. Though there may be some changes in the Palestinian case and pressures build up on the Palestinians, there would be no major changes in general.