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Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East

Edited By Banafsheh Keynoush

Few regions in the world are as torn by conflicts as the Near East, in which Iran plays a central role. Opportunities to engage with Iran are abundant, but they are squandered when regional states address immediate conflicts in which Iran is only one part, despite its prominent role. Iran’s Interregional Dynamics in the Near East provides a comprehensive guide to broaden our understanding about Iran and its regional neighbors. By analyzing how Iran’s neighbors view their ties with the country, this volume reveals why Iran is less successful in expanding its regional influence than what is commonly assumed. This is the first book of its kind to be written exclusively by authors from and working in the Near East region who came together at a roundtable funded by and convened at Princeton University. As the moderator of the roundtable, the editor of this volume invited the authors to contribute chapters to this timely book. The book explores a wide range of topics to describe the complex relations between Iran and other states in the Near East including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman. The volume is designed to inform politicians, world leaders, scholars, senior policy makers, and graduate students, and it provides an accessible guide to undergraduate students, junior scholars, and the general public.

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3. Qatar and Iran: Regional Roles, Risks and Opportunities (Luciano Zaccara and Wafa Sultana Mohiddin)


Luciano Zaccara and Wafa Sultana Mohiddin

Qatar has the most complex yet pragmatic relations with Iran among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), i.e., Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Qatari-Iranian partnership has withstood decades of volatile Gulf policies—a region prone to recurring crises and hostilities—and enabled Qatar to stay stable while sitting as a small state between the two most powerful regional countries in the Persian Gulf, i.e., Saudi Arabia and Iran.1 Having one of the world’s largest arms importers, i.e., Saudi Arabia, and a revolutionary state, i.e., Iran, in its proximity has required Qatar to balance its policies with both neighbors so as to comfortably maintain somewhat equal relations with them. For Qatar, this policy choice is not an option but a question of survival given that as a small state, it is required to seek regional partnerships to protect itself against volatile events.2

Historical realities have taught Qatar the importance of functioning as a small yet hydrocarbon-rich monarchy, which has attracted the interest of its powerful neighbors, and their desire to influence and dominate its lands for centuries even prior to its independence in 1971. Almost every powerful actor in the Persian Gulf since the 16th century, including the Ottomans, the Persians, the Europeans and much later Saudi Arabia, has harbored goals to control the territory that comprises modern Qatar.

In recent years, Iran’s hegemonic goals along with an...

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