How will hajj stampede impact Iran-Saudi relations?

TEHRAN, Iran — When President Hassan Rouhani took office two years ago, there was some hope among Iranians that relations with Saudi Arabia could improve.

But after the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, such hopes have faded as the new rulers in Riyadh continue to fail to show sufficient flexibility and eagerness about engagement with Iran. Indeed, things have turned out for the worse with the recent string of developments marring relations between Tehran and Riyadh.

The last incident, the hajj stampede in which hundreds of Iranians were killed, caused great controversy and has deteriorated the situation. It will surely have domestic implications for both Iran and Saudi Arabia — and also internationally, as both countries seek more active and influential roles in the region.

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Abbas Aslani is an Iranian journalist who writes on foreign policy. He is currently serving as Director General of the World and Foreign Policy Department of Tasnim News Agency. Previously he had the same position in Fars News Agency.