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With Iran having resolved its nuclear dispute with the international community, it is now possible for the West to usher in a new era of collaboration with the country involving not just economic cooperation but an equally important parallel effort aimed at neutralising the threat posed by radical Sunni fundamentalism in the region. As the protector of "all Shiites", Iran has an obvious incentive for cooperating in any campaign against such forces...
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Ever since the execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia, the retaliatory attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the subsequent diplomatic and trade cut off between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the media has reported widely on the Shia-Sunni divide. But how relevant is this? Are we really witnessing a Shia-Sunni division in Middle East?
Ostensibly, both Saudi Arabia and Israel are worried about a nuclear Iran because they see the latter has having expansionist imperial ambitions. Of course, like everybody else in the neighbourhood Iran has proxy groups but perhaps it is not the existential threat posed by a nuclear Iran that worries the Saudis and Israelis as much as the fact that a sanction-free Iran would perhaps be Asia's fastest growing economy with its natural gas, oil and mineral deposits coupled with a highly educated young population.