BBCs Kim Ghattas kommenterer at effekten av atomavtalen er økt regional spenning, uavhengig av om den har den tilsiktede virkning.

Rivaliseringen mellom Teheran og Riyadh går dypt og ble aktivert fra det øyeblikk Khomeini ville grunnlegge sin egen gudsstat. Det var en direkte utfordring av Riyadh.

After the United States, Saudi Arabia is probably the country that has been most successful at exporting its culture. The cables show its patient, persistent work to push back against what Riyadh sees as the spread of Shiite Islam, or other Muslim minority sects, whether it’s by pressing Egypt’s famed Al-Azhar University not to allow Iranians to study at the institution, or working with Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs to raise awareness about the true nature of the minority sect of Ahmadi Muslims, whom Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognize as Muslims. While Riyadh is perhaps most interested in expanding its geopolitical clout, this kind of religious outreach and control also feed dangerous anti-Shiite sentiments.

For both Iran and Saudi Arabia, sectarianism is a useful tool for much more profane goals. This is not a theological debate or even a purely Sunni-Shiite struggle. This is a war about power, a struggle for the leadership of the Muslim world that really kicked off in 1979, with the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran. Iran’s Islamic Revolution had profound domestic consequences for Saudi Arabia: Among other things, it inspired Shiites in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province to briefly rise up and demand better rights; the protests were quickly and violently quelled. For Riyadh, the rise of a theocratic power next door, which had ambitions as a transnational leader of all Muslims, was a direct threat to its role as the custodian of the two holy mosques, so it embarked on an unrelenting mission to maintain its religious bona fides.

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