How Four Decades of Rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia Have Shaped the Modern Middle East

In a television appearance last month, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman stated his desire “to have good relations” with the Islamic Republic of Iran—a major rhetorical reversal from his attitude over the past several years. This declaration is one of a few recent, ambiguous signs of a possible détente in the conflict that has been more central to Middle Eastern geopolitics in the past half century than that between Israel and the Palestinians. In conversation with Russell Berman, Kim Ghattas explains the rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh from its origins in the annus horribilis of 1979 to the present, and its role in the rise of jihadist terrorism from Lebanon to Pakistan. (Audio, 54 minutes.)

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Read more at Caravan

More about: Iran, Middle East, Radical Islam, Saudi Arabia

How Princeton Abandoned a Graduate Student Held Hostage by Iran

Jan. 25 2022

In 2016, Xiyue Wang, an American citizen and a PhD candidate at Princeton University, traveled to Tehran to improve his Persian, and to conduct archival research on the governance of border provinces in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A few months later he was arrested and sent to the Evin prison, where he was held for 40 months, most of which he spent in solitary confinement. He emerged thoroughly disabused of his former faith in the possibility of U.S conciliation with the Islam Republic. He had a similar change in attitude toward his university. Peter Theroux writes:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Academia, Iran