Evidence sessions held on Iran-Saudi Arabia relations
26 August 2019
The International Relations Committee is holding several evidence sessions on Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions, following up on its 2017 report, The Middle East: time for new realism.
In this report the Committee described the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia as a 'cold war' and concluded the rivalry was "mostly … political in nature" and that the rivalry did not serve "the interests of the international community".
Since the report there have been several developments that have affected Iran-Saudi relations, including increased US support for Saudi Arabia and the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the increased stability of the Iran-aligned Syrian regime since the ‘defeat' of Da'esh, the efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution to the war in Yemen, the increased tensions in the Strait of Hormuz and the assassination of Jamal Kashoggi.
Wednesday 4 September in Committee Room 4, Palace of Westminster
- Alistair Burt MP, former Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the Department for International Development (2017-2019)
- Lord Lamont of Lerwick, Chairman, British Iranian Chamber of Commerce
- Professor Ali Ansari, Director of the Institute of Iranian Studies and Professor of Modern History, University of St Andrews
- Dr Sanam Vakil, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Issues to be discussed include:
- The current levels of tensions in the Gulf and whether a US war with Iran is likely.
- The extent to which the shift in US foreign policy under President Trump has affected the Iran-Saudi relationship.
- Whether it is still possible to save the Iran nuclear deal, and if not, how its collapse would affect regional and international security.
- To what extent Saudi Arabia plays a significant role in recent tensions, and how the current situation is viewed from Riyadh.
- The effectiveness of the UK Government's response to both the challenges to the Iran nuclear deal and to subsequent rising tensions in the Gulf.
- The extent to which the UK and its likeminded partners in Europe can play a significant role in alleviating tensions between Iran and the US and between Iran and Saudi Arabia.