The long standing mistrust that exists between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia runs deep and involves far more than diverging view in politics and religion, though those two issues count for much in what has kept the two sides at odds over the past millennia and a half.
Animosity between the Arabs and Persians living on opposite shores of the Gulf whose very name both sides claim as theirs, have this amazing ability to “recall” events that took place several hundreds of years ago as though they took place yesterday. To say that memories run deep would be a gross understatement. Memories run very deep.
Today, the inhabitants of modern day Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to mistrust each other with the same fervor displayed by their forefathers, only now that mistrust is accompanied by some of the best military hardware that money can buy.
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Saudi Arabia, of course, thanks to its oil and natural gas reserves, has no worries as far as purchasing all the military hardware it feels it needs. And the United States has always been willing to offer the Gulf states and the Saudis in particular the latest and the greatest in military toys. All at a certain price, naturally.
Now with the lifting of the sanctions Iran will come into some badly needed cold hard cash and you can rest assured that there will be a long line of countries hoping to sell them some of their arms in exchange for suitcases filed with dollars.
Yet military issues aside and momentarily ignoring their religious fervor, one of the main contention points between the two countries is economics. Some analysts believe the economic factor driving Saudi’s anti-Iran stance is almost as strong as the politics surrounding the Syrian conflict.
What Saudi Arabia fears is that once the sanctions on Iran are lifted production costs kept low by years of continued sanctions will inevitably attract US companies eager to do business in the Islamic Republic.
Reuters reports in a dispatch from the region that lifting of sanctions on Iran could bring as much as 800,000 barrels of oil per day on the international market. To entice foreign investment after years of sanctions the Iranians are very likely to offer investors cut rate prices. This naturally worries the Saudis.
For Iranians, the disappearance of sanctions translates into potential revenues worth $54.4 billion in oil exports.
Business, as the saying goes, is business. It matters little that some people in Iran still like to chant “death to America,” at every opportunity and that America is often seen as the “Great Satan.”
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The Americans are not alone in queuing up to re-enter the Iranian marketplace. The Europeans are right behind hoping to sell them everything from cars too fast speed trains.
There is an additional bonus for the Iranian regime in the lifting of sanctions. If all pans out as hoped by the Iranian regime, these new businesses are bound to generate a giant job creation program.
All of this could not come at a better time for the regime in Tehran who is fighting to contain a sagging economy and rising unemployment currently standing at 15.3% percent.
Iran facing internal strife is bad enough for the Saudis who now shudder to think of an Iran with a stable economy.
By. Claude Salhani
Claude Salhani is senior editor at Trend News Agency in Baku, Azerbaijan.