South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Voice of America on a panel discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center on Iran’s regional role following the negotiations regarding its nuclear program, quoting Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab on anti-Iran sentiment among Arab states:

As desperate migrants from wars in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East keep pouring onto the European continent, it is hard to imagine diplomatic solutions that can diminish this massive exodus anytime soon.

But if the wars are ever to end, one prerequisite is a willingness on the part of Saudi Arabia and its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss these crises with Iran.


“Iran has a lot of explaining to do to the rest of the world,” Bilal Saab, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said Monday, also ticking off Iran’s support for groups such as Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias that have committed acts of terrorism. While Iran’s conventional military prowess is modest, Saab said, its asymmetric powers are considerable and Iran has failed to “stabilize a single state” in the region. As a result, Saab said, anti-Iran sentiment among Arab states is at “an all-time high.”

Still, Saab said, “a set of useful conversations” between Iran and Saudi Arabia “is long overdue.”

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