Are Saudi Arabia and Iran Beginning to Back Away From Confrontation?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Sultan Qaboos of Oman during an official arrival ceremony, Muscat, Oman, Feb. 15, 2017 (Iranian Presidency Office photo).
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Sultan Qaboos of Oman during an official arrival ceremony, Muscat, Oman, Feb. 15, 2017 (Iranian Presidency Office photo).
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit last week to Kuwait and Oman was the latest sign of an improvement in the tone of Tehran’s relations with the Persian Gulf states, and in particular Saudi Arabia, this year. Perhaps the uncertainties around U.S. President Donald Trump’s intentions, as well as the recent thaw between Turkey and Russia, are factors. In any event, it underscores the strategic trend of greater regional ownership of local problems. Rouhani’s stopovers in Kuwait and Oman followed a number of developments in the Persian Gulf region since January that suggest that regional powers are seeking to step back […]

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