The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is an independent think tank engaged in cutting-edge defence and security research. This online resource is part of RUSI’s Iran in the Global Security Context project – a collaboration between the Institute’s Proliferation and Nuclear Policy and International Security Studies programmes. The project aims to understand how the Iranian nuclear programme and international nuclear diplomacy with Iran interact with regional security, with a particular focus on implications for UK policy.
The Mapping Views Across the Gulf: Perceptions on Iran’s Nuclear Programme and Regional Security resource captures the perspectives of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait) on Iran, its nuclear programme and activities in the Gulf and wider Middle East region. Iranian views on regional security, the behaviour and actions of the Gulf monarchies, as well as its own role in the region and international and regional approaches to its nuclear programme are also outlined. The webpage allows users to examine each country’s perspective individually, or to compare perspectives on various matters through the ‘Compare countries’ function.
This resource is published alongside the peer reviewed RUSI Occasional Paper: ‘Chain reactions: The Iranian Nuclear Programme and the Gulf Security Dynamics‘ published in July 2022. The paper is available on the RUSI website.
This resource is a product of six months of research conducted by Darya Dolzikova and Dr Tobias Borck, with extensive support from Jack Senogles and Marike Woollard. The data presented here is a high-level aggregate summary of the project findings. They are informed by 44 semi-structured interviews, with current and former officials and subject matter experts from the countries under examination and further afield, conducted virtually and in-person between September 2021 and February 2022. The research process further included four closed-door roundtable discussions with subject matter experts (many, though not all, of whom also participated in individual interviews). Finally, content of this resource is also supplemented by the academic literature and the authors’ own experience and expertise of the issues addressed in the project. Throughout, the resource prioritises accessibility of the data over its completeness and is meant to help users formulate a baseline understanding of each country’s position.
Furthermore, the resource’s authors recognise that no country is a monolith; in reality, there is no such thing as ‘the Kuwaiti perspective’ or ‘the Iranian perspective’. Each country encompasses a wide diversity of perspectives on all of the matters covered in this resource, and national policies on these issues are formulated by a number of players, often combining diverging opinions. This diversity of course came through in the interviews conducted as part of this project and users may notice that the data presented for a single country can appear contradictory in some aspects. It is also almost certain that some points of view have been overlooked.
The project’s research methodology, as well as notes on scope and limitations are detailed in the accompanying RUSI Occasional Paper on the Iran in the Global Security Context project page. A full list of sources that informed the data presented in this resource can be accessed from the References section on this website.
The Iran in the Global Security Context project has been made possible by the generous support of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
About the Team
Darya Dolzikova: Darya is a Research Fellow with RUSI’s Proliferation and Nuclear Policy programme. Her research focuses on Iranian nuclear activity and nuclear diplomacy with Iran, as well as on understanding and countering the financing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation. Darya’s work also includes the study of sanctions regimes on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes, sanctions-evasion tactics by WMD proliferators and best practices in government and private sector efforts in countering proliferation financing (CPF). Prior to joining RUSI, Darya had served as the manager of government relations and policy development at Canada’s national aerospace industry association. She holds an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Dr Tobias Borck: Tobias is a Research Fellow for Middle East Security Studies at RUSI. His main research interests include the international relations of the Middle East, and specifically the foreign, defence and security policies of Arab states, particularly the Gulf monarchies, as well as European – especially German and British – engagement with the Middle East. Before joining RUSI as a Research Fellow, Tobias worked with the Institute as an Associate Fellow, helping to run training programmes for government officials and security professionals from the Middle East and beyond. Tobias holds a PhD in Middle East Politics at the University Exeter. His thesis examined the foreign policies of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from 2011-2020, with a particular focus on the three states’ conceptions of regional stability.
Jack Senogles: Jack is a former Course Assistant at RUSI International where he helped deliver the RUSI Leadership Centre’s programme of executive education training courses for diplomats, military personnel, and security professionals from the Middle East and beyond. His research interests include the UK’s engagement with the Middle East and political Islam. He holds a postgraduate degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from a university in the Middle East and a BA in War Studies and History from King’s College London. He is a reservist with the British Army.
Marike Woollard: Marike is the Programme Manager for the Proliferation and Nuclear Policy, supporting the team’s current portfolio of work on a range of weapons of mass destruction-related issues and UK nuclear policy. She also provides programme management support for the Open-Source and Intelligence Analysis Research Group. She previously worked as an Institute Administrator at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and as an editorial assistant at the IISS on the Armed Conflict Database. Marike has a BA in International Politics from King’s College London and an MSc in Security Studies from UCL.