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Iran and the Intra-GCC Crisis: Risks and Opportunities


The intra-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis started in late May 2017 with the blockade implemented by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt against Qatar, due to its alleged support for terrorist organisations and its meddling in their internal affairs. The narrow relationship between Qatar and Iran was one of the main factors mentioned by blockading states as threatening the stability and unity of the GCC, thus leading to the severance of bilateral relations with Doha. While the Qatar–Iran relationship was mainly grounded in trade, Iran has improved its image in Qatar due to the support Tehran provided during this critical period. The gains for Iran may be short-lived however, due to the nature of threat perceptions in the region that make it increasingly unlikely for Iran to be recognised as a normalised state in the Gulf.

Paper produced in the framework of the IAI-FEPS project entitled “Europe and Iran in a fast-changing Middle East: Confidence-building measures, security dialogue and regional cooperation”, May 2019.

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