"Pizza and Politics" Discusses Tensions Between Iran and Saudi Arabia
On Wednesday January 27, the Department of Political Science & International Affairs along with JCU’s International Relations Society hosted its first event of the season. Organized by Professor Michael Driessen, “Pizza and Politics” is a monthly series that aims to bring students and professors together for enlightened conversation about pressing, contemporary, global political events.
This month’s “Pizza and Politics” event’s aim was to explore the current tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The animosity between the two countries is deeply rooted in religious and racial differences: Iran is mainly Shia, Saudi Arabia is mainly Sunni; the people of Iran are Persians, while Saudi Arabians are Arabs. In addition, the friction between the two countries is also caused by the competition on oil prices and by Iran’s recent deals with various Middle Eastern as well as Western countries, such as U.S. and France.
The event was introduced and mediated by Professor Diane Maye, a visiting professor of political science from George Mason University.
A student asked Professor Maye whether she had an opinion on why the President of Iran visited the Pope during his recent visit. Maye turned the question to the students. While some students thought this could have been due to Iran’s attempt to “ally” against the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, others believed it was merely a sign of Iran’s opening to the Eastern world.