Relations between the Sunni states in the Persian Gulf and the Shias in Iran were chilly before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, and they became even frostier afterward. But now the worm is beginning to turn—and former rivals are making nice. Burdened with UN sanctions and needing new trading partners, Tehran has been knocking on doors across the Gulf—in the UAE, in Bahrain and at a recent Arab summit.
Not wanting to get caught up in a war between the US and the axis of evil, the Gulf states are responding positively, the Economist notes. After the recent summit, the Saudis invited Ahmadinejad to join the annual haj pilgrimage to Mecca—and he accepted the offer. There’s still much hair-pulling over Tehran’s weapons program, but it’s hard to say no to business—there are 9,000 part-Iranian-owned firms in Dubai alone.