​Amid increased tensions plaguing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies held an academic symposium on Saudi-Iranian relations on Tuesday January 19, 2016 at Doha’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, in the al-Mukhtasar Hall.

The conference was convened following Saudi Arabia's severing of diplomatic ties with Iran (January 3, 2016) in response to the storming of Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. Given the significance of the issue and its potential ramifications for Gulf national security and stability, as well as the potential impact of poor relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran on overall regional conditions and crises in the region and internationally, the conference aimed to contextualize and consider current and historical events.  

Amongst the issues and debates hosted at the symposium were: reasons for recent tensions  and their likely effects on the region; analyses of the motivations for the Saudi position as well as of the internal Iranian positions on the crisis; as well as options for escalation or de-escalation between the two countries. Given the importance of a possible American role, the symposium also tried to shed light on the position of the Obama Administration around the current crisis.  Taking in to account the political, economic, and symbolic weight of both Iran and Saudi Arabia, the symposium discussed potential ramifications of any escalation for both the regional and international orders.

 A select group of researchers and specialists in Iranian and Arab affairs, and international affairs experts, took part in the event. .

The symposium is one of many events organized by ACRPS to foster debate on current issues. The aim of the event is to provide the Arab world with in-depth analyses of important issues, and to include in these debates both Arab and international scholars. Other recent seminars include: ‘Yemen after the Storm’; implications of the drop in oil prices; the Iranian nuclear agreement; and the Russian military intervention in Syria.