Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inspects an honour guard during his ceremonial reception in New Delhi. By ADNAN ABIDI / REUTERS. @Adobe Stock Images.

This memo was presented part of a workshop organised by the LSE Middle East Centre looking at the Saudi–Iran rivalry in the region on 7 May 2018. 

Since 1979, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen itself as facing a radical, militaristic and expansionist Iran that leverages Shi’a disenfranchisement, local power vacuums and a vast and growing network of well-armed and well-trained proxies to export its Islamic Revolution throughout the Middle East. From the Saudi perspective, the kingdom is fighting a rearguard action against a transnational theocratic revolution, the destabilising power of which has strengthened following the 2003 Iraq War and subsequent US disengagement with the region.