Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa programme
Senior Policy Fellow

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The first episode of ECFR’s WOMENP mini-series brings together leading experts to discuss what can be expected from Iran and Saudi Arabia’s de-escalation after the two countries signed an agreement to normalise relations last March and following the recent Arab League Summit. What are Iran and Saudi Arabia hoping to achieve with this deal, especially in view of the US election next year? What factors changed to lead Saudi Arabia to the table? Is there consensus in Iran on the de-escalation and normalisation with Riyadh? How does the region view Iran following the latest nationwide protests?

In this episode, ECFR’s Ellie Geranmayeh speaks to Roxane Farmanfarmaian, lecturer in international politics, Cambridge University; Yasmine Farouk, non-resident scholar, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Dania Thafer, executive director, Gulf International Forum; and Sanam Vakil, director, MENA programme, Chatham House. 

This podcast was recorded on 22 May 2023.   

Must read and see items suggested by experts: 

The Swimmers

Iran-Saudi Arabia reconciliation can help the Middle East’s climate change fight, by Ellie Geranmayeh

English, by Sanaz Toossi

Women, Peace and Security – Gulf Perspectives on Integration, Inclusion and Integrity, by Dania Thafer

Creative Insecurity, by Dania Thafer

Grand Delusion, by Steven Simon

Holy Spider

Leila’s Brothers

Arabicity – Contemporary Arab Art, Edited by Juliet Cestar, Rose Issa

Cover image:

A small Arab League flag on an abstract blurry background

Image by picture alliance / Zoonar | Aleksey Butenkov


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