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Monday December 06, 2021

‘Saudi-Iran truce crucial for enduring peace in ME’

July 02, 2021

Islamabad : Dr Qandil Abbas from Quaid-i-Azam University has said that Saudi-Iran rapprochement was essential for lasting peace in the region marred by an increased spate of tensions and proxies.

Dr Qandil was addressing a webinar on ‘Iran-Saudi relations: challenges and opportunities’ organised here by Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).

Dr Qandil said that normalisation between the two historical rivals can potentially bring the tensions in the Middle East to an ultimate end. He observed that it will have a positive impact on Pakistan as well as on the entire Muslim world.

Colonel (r) Tariq Niaz Bhatti said that there was a will on both sides to mend their ties which led to the initiations of the normalisation process. The political will stemmed from domestic compulsions, he said adding that since Iran’s economy heavily suffered from the US sanctions, there was an urge to bridge the gap with Riyadh. For Saudi Arabia, that rapprochement was equally beneficial as it would help materialise MBS’s grand vision for his country. He also stressed the need to grasp this opportunity to further the process to a meaningful level. Responding to a question on Pakistan’s role as mediator, Mr. Bhatti said that Pakistan highly appreciates the normalisation efforts going on but lamented that we have not been asked for such a role.

Dr Fouzia Amin of National Defence University was of the view that economy and security were the key push factors behind the impulse for easing tensions between the feuding powers. She was critical of Trump’s Iran's strategy that further aggravated the proxy wars in the region. Now there are encouraging signs as Iraqi mediation is very active and the US and EU want to salvage the nuclear deal, she said. Nevertheless, normalisation is still challenging and efforts are required to keep up the momentum for not letting this opportunity go, she emphasized.

In his concluding remarks, Syed Imran Sardar, from IRS, said that a good relationship is not only important but crucial given the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. Since détente is mutually beneficial, both Riyadh and Tehran need to soften their stances to orchestrate smooth normalisation, he said adding that Pakistan welcomes the dialogue between the two countries with the hope of breakthrough in near future.

To a question on nuclear as an issue between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Dr. Qandil clarified that it was not a cause of concern or a threat to normalisation.