The Middle East faces a fragile and turbulent decade ahead. A forceful obstacle to sustainable peace and development in the region has been the heated rivalry unfolding between Iran and those countries opposed to it – led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and strongly supported by the US. The Donald Trump administration’s aggressive stance on Iran is likely to fuel the regional tensions. European actors need to delicately navigate the region’s geopolitical tensions and use the limited leverage they have to push against the current trend towards greater instability and perhaps a wider inter-regional and global conflict.
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”, October 2018.
1. Understanding the position of regional protagonists
1.1 Regional geopolitical tensions centred over Iran
1.2 Role of external players
2. Bleak trajectory ahead
3. What should Europe do?