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Saudi Arabia-Iran tensions complicate situation in region, expert says

Saudi Arabia-Iran tensions complicate situation in region, expert says

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Date: 8 January 2016 14:47

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 8

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

Crisis in Saudi Arabia-Iran relations will invariably complicate the situation in other region’s countries, such as Syria, Yemen and Iraq, senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, James Dorsey believes.

“All of these conflicts are as much domestic fights as they are Saudi-Iranian proxy wars. Heightened Saudi-Iranian tension intensifies these proxy wars,” Dorsey told Trend.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran soured after execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric, by the Kingdom along with other 46 people, which was followed by a strong protest from Iran.

Mass protests took place in Iran following the said execution. In particular, the Saudi embassy in the capital Tehran and the consulate in the city of Mashhad were attacked, after which Riyadh broke off diplomatic ties with Tehran on Jan. 3.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdullah al-Moallem said that relations with Iran will be restored only when Tehran stops “interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, including that of Saudi Arabia’s”.

The Iranian government has recently banned the import of products from Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia’s goods from other countries.

Talking about the Iran’s strategy to defend its interests in Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria, Dorsey said that Islamic Republic is in this for the long haul and despite public perceptions, is not on the defensive.

“It is well-positioned to fight this battle,” Dorsey said.

“Having said that it would be a mistake to reduce problems in various countries to Iran defending its interests,” he added.

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