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Iran-Saudi tensions: Lords to hear evidence in special session

On Wednesday 4 September the House of Lords International Relations Committee will hear from the former Minister of State for the Middle East, and experts on the region, regarding tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the possibility of war in the Gulf, US foreign policy and the role of the UK.  

Speaking to the Committee at 10.40am in Committee Room 4 will be:

  • Alistair Burt MP, former Minister of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2017-2019)
  • Lord Lamont of Lerwick, Chairman, British Iranian Chamber of Commerce 

Questions are likely to include:

  • What is your assessment of the current level of tensions in the Gulf? How do you view the respective positions of Iran and the United States?
  • Is it still possible to save the Iran nuclear deal? If the deal is not saved, how would its collapse affect regional and international security?
  • What are the main drivers of the Iran-Saudi rivalry today?
  • Are there actions that the UK and likeminded partners could take that would help to reduce tensions in the Gulf and avert a possible war? If a war were to break out between Iran and the United States, how should the UK respond?

Speaking to the Committee at 11.40am in Committee Room 4 will be:

  • Dr Sanam Vakil, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Questions are likely to include:

  • How would you characterise Tehran's behaviour in response to the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal? What does this behaviour tell us about Iran's possible future actions?
  • To what extent does Saudi Arabia play a significant role in recent tensions? How is the current situation viewed from Riyadh?
  • To what extent has a shift in US foreign policy under President Trump, namely towards both a more forcefully anti-Iran position and a decreased willingness to engage internationally, affected the Iran-Saudi relationship?

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