Will recent regional developments, particularly the liberation of Syria\u2019s Aleppo and imminent recapture of Iraq\u2019s Mosul, force Saudi Arabia to change its policies towards Iran? Can Oman\u2019s mediation between Tehran and Riyadh contribute to the reduction of the two countries\u2019 tensions? Will Saudi Arabia respond to Iran\u2019s demands?\r\n\r\nNasl-e Farda newspaper has sought answers to these questions in an interview with Sabah Zanganeh, a Middle East expert and a former Iranian envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).\r\n\r\nHe believes anything is possible in politics.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn case, despite its will, Saudi Arabia becomes convinced that these developments are truly taking place, we will witness a change in the Al Saud\u2019s approach to Iran.\u201d\r\n\r\nZanganeh also maintains that Muscat has always favoured regional cooperation in serious crises.\r\n\r\n\u201cTherefore, it is quite probable that Oman would help adjust Saudi Arabia\u2019s policies towards Iran. The Oman Sultanate can act as a link between Iran and other members of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC). Muscat has a high potential for acting as a mediator.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe full text of the interview follow:\r\n\r\nQ: Can regional developments, particularly the Syrian army regaining full control over Aleppo and the imminent liberation of Mosul, enforce Saudi Arabia to stop pursuing its tension-creating policies towards Iran?\r\n\r\nA: Anything is possible in politics. In case, despite its will, Saudi Arabia becomes convinced that these developments are truly occurring, we will witness a change in the Al Saud\u2019s approach to Iran. This is while Riyadh has failed to achieve most of its regional targets since the onset of Syrian crisis and Iraqi developments. This might persuade the Al Saud to review its policies.\r\n\r\nNevertheless, this alteration is only expected in case Saudi officials and statesmen primarily believe in political rationality. In case they react towards regional countries and developments based on their baseless demands, the present behaviour and policies will be pursued until the country\u2019s treasury is fully empty. Only then, they would realize that their adopted policies had been ineffective, for, despite spending lavishly, they have only aroused neighbouring countries\u2019 animosity towards themselves and have failed to achieve their goals.\r\n\r\nQ: How do you evaluate the Oman Sultanate\u2019s recent move to join the Saudi-led so-called anti-terrorism coalition?\r\n\r\nA: Oman and all other [P]GCC countries highly fear the expansion of terrorism in their territories. Thus, they are required to propagate that they are against terrorists. Nevertheless, Oman\u2019s accession to the coalition can have other dimensions. Primarily, it can be a quid pro quo. Oman is assisting Saudi Arabia to publicize the coalition, and in return expects other favours from the country such as financial aid. In case Oman had not become a member of the coalition, it could have expected Saudi Arabia\u2019s intrigues against its government. In fact Muscat\u2019s accession to the coalition was an effort to protect itself against such policies of the Al Saud. Oman\u2019s membership will not lead to an increase in Riyadh\u2019s power. The move is also aimed at controlling Saudi Arabia\u2019s militarism and belligerent strategies in the region.\r\n\r\nQ: What would be the outcomes for Iran in case Muscat opts to maintain a distance with Tehran and works closer with Riyadh? Would it be better if Iran could prevent the fostering of such relations between the two countries?\r\n\r\nA: Iran believes in other countries\u2019 independence and freewill and holds that any state can pursue its own favoured policies. Iran has no problem with other nations\u2019 anti-terrorism slogans and approves of efforts to combat terrorism. Such moves and measures are in line with Iran\u2019s goals.\r\n\r\nTehran seriously believes in fighting terrorist groups and acts. It will be unlikely that Muscat\u2019s decision to fight terrorism would lead to any negative consequences for Iran.\r\n\r\nQ: Can Oman act as an intermediary between Iran and Saudi Arabia to ease their tensions given the country\u2019s effective role in helping Washington and Tehran settle some of their differences over the latter\u2019s peaceful nuclear program? \r\n\r\nA: Omani officials\u2019 consultations with their Saudi counterparts can, to some extent, change the latter\u2019s political attitude towards Iran and push them towards expanded regional cooperation. Oman has always been Saudi Arabia\u2019s advisor in regional issues. Sometimes, the Al Saud takes Muscat\u2019s advices and sometimes it does not.\r\n\r\nNevertheless, Oman has always favoured regional cooperation in serious crises. It is likely that it would convince Saudi Arabia to revise its policies towards Iran. The Oman Sultanate can act as a link between Iran and other members of the [P]GCC. Although Riyadh is doing its best to maintain pressure on Iran using all of its tools and diplomatic levers, Muscat has a high potential for acting as a mediator.\r\n\r\nQ: Is it possible that Saudi Arabia gives in to Iran\u2019s demands and change its policies and strategies towards the country?\r\n\r\nIt is highly likely in view of the situation in the region and Saudi Arabia\u2019s financial condition. Most people in regional countries hold Saudi Arabia responsible for the destructions, bloodshed, wars and promotion of terrorism in the region. Alteration of policies seems inevitable for Riyadh in case the Al Saud seeks to improve its tarnished image.