Anyone who follows international politics knows that the rivalry between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is bitter and has exacerbated the various conflicts raging across the Middle East. Relations between the two Persian Gulf power centers took a turn for the worse after the Arab Spring, as power vacuums emerged throughout the region, and further deteriorated when the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six world powers successfully concluded in 2015. In recent months, however, there have been signs of progress toward reconciliation between Iran and the GCC.
Iran had made repeated attempts to reach out since President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration in August 2013, but they largely met with unreceptive ears. That changed in January, with the Kuwaiti foreign minister, Sabah Khalid Al Sabah, making a landmark visit to Tehran, where he reportedly delivered a message to Rouhani concerning the “basis of dialogue” between Iran and the GCC states. Rouhani reciprocated by visiting Kuwait and Oman in February and sending a letter to Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah on March 13.