Only Good News From Iran And Saudi Arabia

It’s time to speculate if Saudi Arabia might be interested in re-opening discussions with Iran about the future of their relations. My own sense when I was recently in the kingdom is that there is this understanding there that whatever Iran goes through, Saudi Arabia has to live with its consequences as its neighbor. If the Trump administration is unclear what to do about Iran next year, besides keeping sanctions against the country in place, then I believe it is best for Saudi Arabia to carve out its own policy on Iran. This will pay off in the long haul. Even if the current US administration develops a more proactive policy on Iran, it is not clear if President Trump will succeed in implementing a policy or back off from it. In these scenarios, Saudi Arabia will need more certainty than what the US can offer in knowing how best to deal with Iran. In Iran, there is an emerging sense that the kingdom might be more receptive to the idea of talking to Tehran, especially if the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen wind down. Alternatively, if the US picks up a real fight with Iran, it will be much harder for Saudi Arabia and Iran to communicate. But no matter what, Saudi Arabia should have a policy in place to empower the kingdom to decide about its future options with Iran.