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Saudi-Iran détente is crucial for enduring peace in the Middle East

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DNA

Islamabad: Saudi-Iran raproshma was essential for lasting peace in the region marred by an increased spate of tensions and proxies, said Prof. Dr. Qandil Abbas of QAU. ‘

Normalization between the two historical rivals can potentially bring the tensions in the Middle East to an ultimate end, he said adding that it will have a positive impact on Pakistan as well as on the entire Muslim world.’ He was speaking at a webinar organized by the Institute of Regional Studies, on ‘Iran-Saudi Relations: Challenges and Opportunities’. To a question on nuclear as an issue between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Dr. Abbas clarified that it was not a cause of concern, and a threat to normalization.

While speaking on the occasion, Lt. Col. (retd) Tariq Niaz Bhatti said that there was a will on both sides to mend their ties which led to the initiations of the normalization process. The political will was 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 materialize MBS’s grand vision for his country, said Mr. Bhatti. He also stressed the need to grasp this opportunity to further the process to a meaningful level. Responding to the question on Pakistan’s role as mediator, Mr. Bhatti said that ‘Pakistan highly appreciates the normalization efforts going on but we have not been asked for such role.’

Dr. Fouzia Amin of NDU 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 strategy which she argued further aggravated the proxy wars in the region. ‘Now there are encouraging signs as Iraqi mediation is very active, and the US, EU wants to salvage the nuclear deal’, she said. Nevertheless, ‘normalization is still challenging’ and efforts are required to keep up the momentum for not letting this opportunity go, she emphasized.  

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Syed Imran Sardar, from IRS, said that ‘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 normalization, he said adding that Pakistan welcomes the dialogue between the two countries with a hope of ‘breakthrough’ in the near future.

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