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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif talks with diplomats before the start of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 25, 2014 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

‘Grand Bargain’ in Yemen, Iraq Latest Sign of Iran-Saudi Arabia Thaw

Friday, Oct. 10, 2014

In September, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Saudi counterpart, Saud al-Faisal, in New York in the latest attempt under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to reduce the prevailing hostilities between Tehran and Riyadh. So far it appears the Saudi leadership has responded positively, creating a strong possibility of Iranian-Saudi relations entering a new phase, with a significant reduction of hostilities. There are even some indications that the improved relations could lead to a grand bargain between the two longtime regional rivals, with significant implications for the entire Middle East.

Decades of rocky relations followed by heightened tensions since the Arab uprisings of 2011—which have partly devolved in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen into Saudi-Iranian proxy wars—make the potential rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh both significant and surprising. It appears that both countries are reassessing the costs and benefits of their escalating cold war and are finally open to compromises. ...

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