Under China’s auspices, Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an effort to manage their rivalry, which resulted in the March 10 trilateral agreement to restore diplomatic relations between the two states. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported the decision, yet he is disinclined to accept political responsibility for it. In a May 21 address to Iran’s ambassadors, who are in Tehran for consultations, Khamenei did not mention Saudi Arabia specifically, but he delivered statements that commentary in Iranian media has universally interpreted as Iran’s head of state studiously avoiding taking any responsibility for the diplomatic breakthrough with Saudi Arabia. Rather than owning what was a major diplomatic victory for Iran, Khamenei appears to fear internal critics accusing him of selling out Iran’s revolutionary ideals and contradicting Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s July 1988 dictum: “Even if we forget Saddam, let go of the Quds issue, and disregard America’s crimes, we shall never forget the House of Saud. God willing, we shall wash our sorrows away when we, at an appropriate time, take revenge on America and the House of Saud.” Out of this fear, Khamenei has gone as far as publicly distancing himself from the restoration of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, calling it “dissimulation.”
Although the entry of women into the Gulf’s diplomatic and military ranks was slower than elsewhere, the region is in the midst of a sweeping transformation, largely due to top-down policies and social shifts.
International renewable energy certificates, which are increasingly popular in the Gulf, can help fuel the growth of the renewable energy industry as the world transitions away from fossil fuels.
Rather than a change of policy, the appointment of Ali Akbar Ahmadian may be more about who gets credit for Iran’s diplomatic initiatives.
Through its careful examination of the forces shaping the evolution of Gulf societies and the new generation of emerging leaders, AGSIW facilitates a richer understanding of the role the countries in this key geostrategic region can be expected to play in the 21st century.