Cultural Foundations of the Iran-Saudi Arabia Conflict

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of International Relations, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Women Studies, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


Since 1950s, Iran and Saudi Arabia have considered each other as a rival and competition between two countries includes a wide range of issues. This field of competition along with a number of material and spiritual factors has caused conflicts in the relations of Tehran-Riyadh. Owing to this fact, a series of perceptions have occupied their minds which can be called a discourse. The discourse consisted of a set of factors such as religion, ethnicity and the nature of the political system. This research seeks to study the role and position of culture in advent of conflicts in Iran and Saudi Arabia’s relations. The methodology of the article is based on data analysis and content analysis. The results of the research indicate that the dualization of Arab/Ajam, Shiite-Sunni antagonism, and the conservative/ revolutionary approaches are the cultural foundations of conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. These findings show that an increase in cultural interactions, especially through non-governmental organizations and informal channels can reform perceptions and decrease tensions. Iran and Saudi Arabia can improve relations through emphasis on common grounds e.g. common beliefs, common interests in confrontation terrorism and stability in region. 


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Volume 15, Issue 56 - Serial Number 56
January 2020
Pages 181-163
  • Receive Date: 06 June 2019
  • Revise Date: 08 December 2019
  • Accept Date: 12 December 2019
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2019