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Saudi Arabia, Iran and De-Escalaton in the Persian Gulf

By Simon Mabon

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Report on De-Escalation in the Persian Gulf

This report brings together a range of internationally recognised experts to reflect on ways in which tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran can be mitigated. In doing so, the contributors unpack the complexity and intersectionality of the rivalry which have often proved so devastating to efforts to improve relations between the two states. While the rivalry has become increasingly volatile in recent years, we must not view it as static and immutable, but rather conditioned and shaped by context, time and space. As the 1990s demonstrated, there is nothing inherently intractable about relations between the Kingdom and the Islamic Republic, yet in order to better understand the ways in which tensions can be reduced, contributors explore the myriad areas that shape the rivalry. 

While there are strong arguments to be made for regional security organisations designed to improve relations, such as those proposed recently by the International Crisis Group, this report looks at the key structural issues impacting on the rivalry. It is only through untangling and addressing these issues that a broader improvement in relations between the two states can be achieved. In this vein, SEPAD echoes claims made by the International Crisis Group in calling for a regional security organisation that includes Saudi Arabia and Iran. Yet before that can be achieved, other issues must be addressed, which is where this report seeks to contribute to policy discussions and academic debates. 


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