Saudi Arabia and Iran have been holding talks to mend shattered ties since January, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saying in an interview last month that Riyadh would like to have “good relations” with its neighbour from across the Gulf.
Saudi Arabia’s push to improve relations with longtime rival Iran is the result of insecurity linked to the Biden administration’s policy vis-à-vis Riyadh and the Middle East in general, David Schenker, the former Trump assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, has said.
The Biden administration partially cut off arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia and announced an end to US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen in February, indicating that it would consider weapons sales to the kingdom on a case-by-case basis. The move prompted Riyadh to propose a new peace initiative with Yemen’s Houthi militia.
Two months later, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared in an interview that he would like Iran’s help in moving the Middle East toward peace and prosperity. “At the end of the day, Iran is a neighbouring country and all that we hope for is to have good relations,” he said, speaking to Al Arabiya TV.
Yasmine Farouk, a Middle East specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, agreed with Schenker’s assessment of Riyadh’s motives, telling Business Insider that the Saudis know “they can no longer count on US support if they maintain the same regional policies that…