The rotation of Iran-Saudi Arabia relations in two dimensions of geopolitical interaction and confrontation and the grounds for their formation

Document Type : Research Paper


1 univercity of tehran

2 University of tehran

3 Assistant Professor./Tehran University

4 university of tehran


Extended Abstract
Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia are undoubtedly two important and determining countries in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, which typically have vicissitudinous relations. Over time, geopolitical relations of countries have been constantly evolving through several factors such as wars, changes in the regional and the global system, revolutions, and changes in power balances. Over the past four decades (after the Islamic revolution), Iran-Saudi Arabia geopolitical relations have been changed due to a wide range of geopolitical factors which can be found in a variety of internal-external geopolitical factors. This descriptive-analytical paper aims to study the pattern of geopolitical relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the Islamic Revolution of Iran. Islamic Revolution in Iran, September 11 attacks, Islamic-awakening, the peaceful end of Iran–Iraq War, energy geopolitics, Shia Crescent, Iran's access to nuclear energy, Regional and international developments such as the coming of Mohamed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and Donald Tramp in the United States and the key role of transnational powers have been the most factors affecting this geopolitical relations.
Today, the Persian Gulf is one of the most important geopolitical regions in the world, an important part of Jeffrey Camp's theory "Hartland Energy." In the Persian Gulf region, based on the goals and interests of the powers and actors within its geopolitical structure, a pattern Geopolitical relations between the political units of the region are formed. On the other hand, in recent years, the Gulf region has undergone significant changes. Following the major changes in the Middle East policy of the United States after the Islamic Revolution, the imposed war, the events of September 11 2001, and the military's invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and developments such as the issue The Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Awakening in the Arab Countries This region has been the focus of international attention more than before. These developments have affected the geopolitical relations of the countries of the region, because of the structural and institutional differences between the political systems of the countries The region and the differences in their views and positions on the current issues of the region have exacerbated regional conflicts and created areas for confrontation in their geopolitical relations. The geopolitical relations of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran as two important and influential countries in the region It is very important and follows developments Relations between the two countries have changed in recent years.
The method of research in this research is of a practical, descriptive-analytical nature in terms of its nature. The method of collecting information is based on the library and documentation method, which is necessary to fetch and adjust the information necessary by referring to books, articles, documents, newspapers, the Internet, etc. Efforts have been made to use the information and documentation of the library, including important foreign and domestic sources, such as geopolitics, geopolitics, international relations science, political science, etc. to prove the approach of this article. The method of data analysis in this research is "qualitative," and attempts to take advantage of the rational and scientific arguments and achieve a major conclusion in the context of geopolitical relations between the two countries.
Result and discussion
The results of the research show that the pattern of geopolitical relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the Islamic Revolution has so far turned from interaction to interaction and, on the contrary, from interaction to geopolitical conflict in turn.
The study of the pattern of geopolitical relations between the two countries after the Iranian revolution shows four periods of relations between the two countries, which in every four years dominated the pattern of interaction (cooperation) and conflict (conflict) between the two countries. Accordingly, in the first period of the geopolitical relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the Islamic Revolution, until 1989, Saudi withdrawal from Iran became a threat and an enemy, and from Saudi Arabia's perspective, Saudi Arabia was seen as an unjustified regime. In the second period of geopolitical relations from 1989 to 2001(the formation of the11 Septamir incident), with the change of orientation of Iran's foreign policy and the diminution of ideological approaches, regional and international developments, such as the Turkish-Israeli coalition, the Saudi-political and economic problems, and Confronting Iraq's action to change the regional balance of Kuwait's occupation, on the other hand, along with the collapse of the bipolar system and the creation of a monopoly power distribution system in the international system and Iran's pragmatism towards the outside world, Iran-Saudi relations out of the geopolitical conflict. Turning to geopolitical interaction, the two countries took one The other was changed to "enemy".The continuation of this trend in the third era of relations in the year 2001, along with the September 11th accident, will lead to Iran and Saudi Arabia becoming closer to Iran and Saudi Arabia, along with regional and international confidence building on Iran and its alignment with the Saudi rulers' approach. Although in the second and third periods of relations, some differences and geopolitical rivalries were present between the two actors, the lack of identity along with the adjustment of structural pressures led to the formation of a geopolitical interaction pattern in relations. The fourth round of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia since 2005 (simultaneously with the Arab revolutions) was accompanied by a geopolitical exchange of interaction from geopolitical controversy. During this period, the confrontation and ideological and geopolitical rivalries intensified simultaneously. The distinction of this period with the first period was the departure of Saudi Arabia from a conservative orientation and an active and invasive approach to foreign policy and its ideological prominence and support for radical Sunni / regional conflicts. Finally, it can be said that what causes the rotation in the geopolitical relations between the two countries is the opposition and competition of identity and geopolitical factors along with the pressures of the world powers.
Keywords: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Geopolitical relations, Interaction, Conflict.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 14 October 2020
  • Receive Date: 06 May 2019
  • Revise Date: 13 October 2020
  • Accept Date: 14 October 2020