Mr. Vatanka highlighted that Saudi Arabia had restructured its domestic social and economic policies. The young leader, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, was attached to the youth of the country and was too focused to achieve economic strength
Islamabad: The recently concluded rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia was in line with their respective foreign policies’ ambitions and could uplift the economic potential of the Middle East. These remarks were presented by Mr. Alex Vatanka, the Founding Director of Iran Program at the Middle East Institute, Washington DC. He was addressing an international event hosted by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Islamabad. The event was conducted to analyze the post-rapprochement geopolitical proceedings of the Middle East and its impacts on the neighbourhood.
Mr. Vatanka highlighted that Saudi Arabia had restructured its domestic social and economic policies. The young leader, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, was attached to the youth of the country and was too focused to achieve economic strength. Therefore, any conflict could undermine his vision of economic development, he said. While discussing the benefits for Iran in this rapprochement, Mr. Vatanka pointed out that Iran had very few customers globally for its energy products. Hence, this development where further consolidated Iran’s ties with China, it also provided Iran the leverage to evade US sanctions. The investments of Iran and Saudi Arabia in each other’s countries was not only mutually beneficial but it had a wider array of prospects for the region as well which was otherwise least integrated economically, he added.
President IRS, Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz, cautioned that while the rapprochement was a positive development for the region and beyond, the regional states and international community must not allow spoilers to create suspicion and trust deficit between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Lastly, Mr. Fraz Naqvi, Program Lead Iran Program at IRS argued that rapprochement had actually strengthened Iran’s position in the region. If some indigenous form of security mechanism was devised between Iran and Saudi Arabia, it could potentially invite the greater Chinese role in the Middle East and adversely impact the Abraham Accords, he added.