Since 2015, CARPO has established an Iran-Saudi dialogue format in cooperation with the EastWest Institute in Brussels. This initiative entails workshops and publications focussing on the exchange of perspectives on relevant issues between diplomats, policy analysts and security experts from both countries.
A first project phase – funded by the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs through the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) – ran from 2015 to 2018. Throughout this period, numerous workshops on a broad variety of topics were implemented and their insights published through publicly available policy briefs. As of 2019, the initiative has entered its second phase and is jointly funded by the Foreign Ministries of Switzerland and the Netherlands.
In 2020 and 2021, this initiative will continue to bring together distinguished stakeholders from Tehran and Riyadh to exchange viewpoints and assessments on issues of shared interest and concern in the Middle East.

Duration: October 2015 – April 2021

Team: Adnan Tabatabai (contact person), Jan Hanrath, Julia Pickhardt

Partner: EastWest Institute

Donors: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands


Publications:

A Strained Alliance. Transatlantic Views on the Middle East

A Strained Alliance. Transatlantic Views on the Middle East

by Adnan Tabatabai

This CARPO Brief provides the readers with a reflection of the discussions held during a workshop organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and CARPO, which brought together policy experts from the think tank communities of Europe and the United States. The focus of the discussions was on specific country contexts (Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia), but also considered transnational areas of shared concern, such as the rise of non-state actors, violent extremism and state failure. Distinct points of convergence and divergence in transatlantic views on the Middle East are highlighted and summarized.

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Knowledge in Dialogue. The Role of Academic Exchange in Mitigating Conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia

Knowledge in Dialogue. The Role of Academic Exchange in Mitigating Conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia

by Jan Hanrath

The sixth meeting of CARPO and the EastWest Institute’s ‘Iran-Saudi Dialogue Initiative’ dealt with knowledge production and knowledge dialogue in context of the highly conflictual relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia and explored the potential of academic exchanges and scientific cooperation in defusing such tensions. The workshop brought together academics, representatives of think tanks and security analysts from Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as international experts. The participants discussed general conditions and approaches of academic dialogues, as well as concrete steps that can be envisioned even in times of heightened conflict. All participants agreed that an increase of knowledge on its own does not automatically lead to more understanding. Different forms of knowledge need to be understood and applied, and existing gaps between the various forms bridged. Only in doing so academic dialogue can live up to its potential as bridge-builder. CARPO Brief 11 takes up the discussions of the workshop and presents policy recommendations.

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Environmental Challenges in a Conflictive Environment. Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on the Risks of Climate Change and Ecological Deterioration.

Environmental Challenges in a Conflictive Environment. Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on the Risks of Climate Change and Ecological Deterioration.

by Jan Hanrath und Wael Abdul-Shafi

The fourth meeting of CARPO and the EastWest Institute’s ‘Iran-Saudi Track 2 Initiative’ dealt with the political, social and economic risks posed by current environmental challenges to Iran and Saudi Arabia alike. The workshop brought together academics, environmental experts, security analysts and former diplomats from Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as international experts. The participants discussed environmental issues to reach a better understanding of the political context and to identify opportunities and limits for Iranian-Saudi cooperation in the field of regional environmental policy. Fully aware that the current political situation makes cooperation very difficult, participants discussed potential avenues of exchange below the level of national governments and proposed initiatives for cooperation on a regional and international level. CARPO Brief 08 summarizes key insights and recommendations derived from the conference discussions.

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Envisioning the Future: Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on the Post-Oil Economy

Envisioning the Future: Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on the Post-Oil Economy

by Danila Bochkarev and Jan Hanrath

The third meeting of CARPO and the EastWest Institute’s Iran-Saudi Track 2 Dialogue Initiative was dedicated to the repercussions of changing global energy markets on Iran and Saudi Arabia. The workshop brought together policy experts and economists from Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as experts from Europe. They discussed challenges and opportunities a ‘post-oil’ era might bring and explored potential areas for cooperation between both countries. While participants agreed on the necessity of cooperation for creating strong and less oil-dependent economies, from which both countries as well as the whole region would benefit, their assessments varied on where this could begin. CARPO Brief 07 summarizes key insights and recommendations derived from the conference discussions.

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Victimized by Geopolitics. Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on the Refugee Crisis

Victimized by Geopolitics. Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on the Refugee Crisis

by Wael Abdul-Shafi, Kawa Hassan und Adnan Tabatabai

The second meeting of CARPO and the EastWest Institute’s Iran-Saudi Track 2 Dialogue initiative took place in spring 2016 in Bonn. Current and former diplomats, analysts and security experts from both countries met alongside European scholars and experts to discuss “Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on the Refugee Crisis”. During the two-day conference, the participants elaborated on how the term “refugee“ is conceptualized in Saudi Arabia and Iran. They further shared their views and future visions about the ongoing conflicts and the humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan – the four main ’departure contexts’ of refugees in West and Central Asia. CARPO Brief 05 summarizes key insights and recommendations derived from the conference discussions.

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Know Your Enemy – Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on ISIL

Know Your Enemy – Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on ISIL

by Adnan Tabatabai und Kawa Hassan

CARPO and the EastWest Institute have established a confidential track 2 format for Iranian-Saudi dialogue. The first dialogue meeting took place In the fall of 2015 in Brussels. Current and former diplomats, analysts and security experts from both countries met alongside European policy-makers and experts to discuss “Iranian and Saudi Perspectives on ISIL”. During the 2-day conference, root-causes of the rise of ISIL were outlined along four key dimensions, and comprehensive strategies against violent extremist organizations such as ISIL proposed. CARPO Brief 03 summarizes the most important insights and presents tangible policy recommendations.

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