Saudi Arabia offers Iran economic boost if Tehran promises de-escalation over Gaza

Saudi Arabia offers Iran economic boost if Tehran promises de-escalation over Gaza
Saudi Arabia has reportedly expressed readiness to invest in Iran's economy if Shia militant groups backed by Tehran help deescalate regional tensions over Israel's war on Gaza.
3 min read
30 November, 2023
Iran has warned the Gaza war could expand into a regional face-off, while its proxies are already engaged in the conflict [Getty]

Saudi Arabia has offered to help boost Iran’s economy if Tehran does not aggravate regional tensions over the war in Gaza, Bloomberg has reported.

It was not clear what sectors Riyadh would be looking to invest in, or how much money it would inject in the Iranian economy. Proposals have been passed onto the Iranian government "directly and through multiple means," Bloomberg said.

The kingdom’s potential economic partnership with Tehran was also discussed between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during an Arab-Islamic summit earlier this month in Riyadh.

That summit discussed the war on Gaza, but attendees failed to reach a consensus on any strong, practical measures against Israel.

Saudi Arabia and Iran – two regional powerhouses - mended ties earlier this year after a Chinese-brokered deal, ending years of hostility.

Other Arab countries and Iran have also made efforts to warm ties.

Iran backs multiple militant groups in the region: Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthi group, along other militias in Syria and Iraq. All of them have intervened in Israel’s war on Gaza, directly firing rockets and drones toward Israel or targeting US troops in the region over Washington’s backing of Tel Aviv.

Iran itself has warned that Israel's war in Gaza could potentially lead to a wider regional conflict.

In return for convincing these groups to avoid escalation, Saudi Arabia has reportedly expressed readiness to do business in Iran, reeling under severe Western sanctions, reimposed on the Islamic Republic after former President Donald Trump tore up the 2015 nuclear deal.

Sanctions - among other factors - have hampered economic growth in Iran, contributing to a crashing currency and rising levels of poverty and unemployment in the country of 88 million.

Israel’s bombardment of the Palestinian enclave has killed up to 15,000 people, most of them civilians, and left large parts of the territory in complete ruins.

A Qatari, US and Egyptian-mediated truce has been in effect since Friday, 24 November. The truce has seen Hamas release Israel and dual-national hostages, and Israel free Palestinian prisoners, all women or minors aged 18 and under.

Although far-fetched in the current circumstances, mediators and other Arab and Islamic nations are looking into ways to extend the truce and possibly reach a ceasefire, despite Israel vowing to annihilate Hamas.

The Palestinian group claimed responsibility for shooting dead three Israelis and wounding more than a dozen others in Jerusalem on Thursday, in what could very likely lead to a resumption of Israeli attacks.