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EghtesadOnline: Iran's regional peace plan could have a chance of being implemented in cooperation with Persian Gulf Arab states, if relations between Tehran and Riyadh were to improve, a political analyst says.

"The first and foremost requirement for the execution of such an initiative is the resolution of political issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia as two major regional powers," Fatemeh Sayyahi wrote in an article published by the Iranian Diplomacy website. 

In his speech at the UN General Assembly in September, President Hassan Rouhani put forward the Hormuz Peace Endeavor proposal, which is meant to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Persian Gulf region.

According to Rouhani, the plan explores various avenues of cooperation, including security of energy supply, freedom of navigation and free transfer of oil and other commodities to and from the Strait of Hormuz and beyond, based on the principles of mutual respect, non-aggression and non-interference, Financial Tribune reported.

The peace plan came against the backdrop of rising tensions between Iran and the United States following the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities that Riyadh and American officials have blamed on Iran. 

Tehran denies any role in the assault claimed by the Yemeni Houthi group, which is currently fending off indiscriminate airstrikes led by a Saudi-led alliance that has devastated Yemen's infrastructure and forced thousands of Yemeni civilians to face famine and death.

 

 

‘Unrealistic’ Assumption 

Sayyahi, an expert on Middle East affairs, says it would be "unrealistic" to assume that the initiative can go forward while tensions run high between the Islamic Republic and the kingdom.   

"Persian Gulf Arab states usually follow Saudi Arabia's lead when it comes to Iran. So resumption of Tehran-Riyadh bilateral talks is necessary for the implementation of any peace plan and promotion of peace," she said, adding that improved ties between the two powers can result in "effective participation" of other Arab countries. 

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been supporting opposite sides in the war in Syria and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon. They have also adopted different approaches to the conflict in Yemen.

The kingdom severed diplomatic relations after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr without due process in Saudi Arabia in January 2016.

Saudi authorities welcomed Washington's decision last year to withdraw the United States from an international nuclear agreement with Iran and reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran. However, they have recently voiced support for a political solution to settle disputes with Iran, albeit reluctantly, realizing that US President Donald Trump will not do their bidding by waging a proxy war with Tehran.

Sayyahi believes that the implementation of a regional peace initiative is necessary for Iran at a time when it is not actively involved in the decision-making processes of most regional forums and is also the target of various accusations made by some regional organizations, including the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council. 

 

 

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