Home Middle East & Turkey Iran Tension between Iran and Saudi Arab is not sectarian but political: Qatar

Tension between Iran and Saudi Arab is not sectarian but political: Qatar

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Qatar has said that Iran and Arab countries can solve their tensions through “constructive dialogue and diplomacy”. The statement came after Saudi Arabia and Iran were seen issuing statements blaming each other for the unrest in the region. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is also helping both Muslim states to come to the table and settle their all outstanding issues through dialogue.

Lolwah al-Khater, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, while responding to a question about the nature of tensions between some Arab states and Iran, on the sidelines of a panel titled “Middle East said that “The tension is not sectarian, as it appears to some; rather it is a power and influence struggle in the region between two different poles.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tehran earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said no country can create insecurity in the Persian Gulf region and simply get away with it. “If a country thinks it can create insecurity in the region without getting a response, it is totally mistaken,” he added.

Khater also stressed the importance of settling regional issues through the independent will of the regional countries, saying such a determination should represent their collective interests and must not be influenced by international players. She added that the ability to effectively deal with problems will increase if “external interests” are not taken into consideration.

Read more: Takeaways from PM Imran Khan’s meeting with Qatari counterpart PM Sheikh Abdullah

Earlier the Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said relations between Doha and Tehran are based on mutual interests.

Speaking at a session held within the framework of the 2019 Global Security Forum on Oct. 15, the Qatari foreign minister said, “Iran is our neighbor and since the inception of the state of Qatar, we have not seen any violent or aggressive behavior.”

Sheikh Mohammed admitted that Iran and Qatar have disagreements on many regional issues, saying, “We do not endorse some of their activities and they do not endorse some of our activities.” “But there is an understanding that we are neighbors and we must coexist, and this relationship is based on mutual respect,” he declared.

Iran vs Arab: Two Rivals in the Muslim World

Two countries, representing two different strands of Islam, Shia and Sunni, have been two uneasy rivals in the region. For many experts, the rivalry is the result of ideological differences that exist between the two states. However, there is another opinion which suggests that it is more about economy and politics, and less about the religion. According to a BBC report, historically Saudi Arabia, a monarchy and home to the birthplace of Islam, saw itself as the leader of the Muslim world. However this was challenged in 1979 by the Islamic revolution in Iran which created a new type of state in the region – a kind of revolutionary theocracy – that had an explicit goal of exporting this model beyond its own borders.

In the past 15 years in particular, the differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been sharpened by a series of events. The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq overthrew Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Arab who had been a major Iranian adversary. This removed a crucial military counter-weight to Iran. It opened the way for a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad and Iranian influence in the country has been rising ever since.

Fast-forward to 2011 and uprisings across the Arab world caused political instability throughout the region. Iran and Saudi Arabia exploited these upheavals to expand their influence, notably in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, further heightening mutual suspicions.

However, in a rather encouraging move, Muhammad Bin Salman, crown prince, recently said that he preferred a peaceful resolution because it “is much better than the military one.” He said that US President Donald Trump should meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to craft a new deal on Tehran’s nuclear program and influence across the Middle East.

Read more: Imran Khan Worked his Charm Over Iran & Saudi Arabia: War Threats Clears

Iran’s Speaker of the parliament has said Tehran is open to the idea of starting a dialogue with regional rival Saudi Arabia.

Pakistani premier recently went to Iran and Saudi Arabia and making all possible efforts to bring the two counties on the same page. PM Imran believes that the Muslim world should settle its all outstanding issues so that there must exist unity which is key for the collective development.

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