On the occasion of Barack Obama’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah agreed to begin a dialogue with Iran, Washington’s new ally.

Riyadh will soon be hosting Abdelahyane Hussein Amir, in charge of the Arab world at the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Affairs Minister himself Mohammad Jawad Zarif, and finally Sheikh Hassan Rohani, the President of the Islamic Republic.

The animosity between the two countries is particularly serious and stems both from a geopolitical rivalry and Khomeini’s anti-imperialist doctrine. It was further aggravated by Sheikh Hassan Rohani’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which he justifies in the name of Islamic solidarity but which also illustrates his ideological opposition to Khomeini’s doctrine. However, the current appeasement between Saudi Arabia and Qatar relegates this problem to the background.

Slow but profound changes are therefore to be expexted.