Saudi Arabia has always been a close ally of the US, especially with regard to regional foreign policy. The kingdom has a reputation for pragmatism, which stems from being the world’s largest oil exporter.

However, the recent re-emergence of Iran onto the global political scene has certainly perturbed Riyadh, especially as Washington has been heavily involved in bringing the Islamic Republic in from the cold.

From an objective standpoint, some of Riyadh’s grievances do stand up to scrutiny. A year ago, the kingdom was one of several countries supporting the Syrian rebels. After continued atrocities, including the alleged use of chemical weapons, were carried out by the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, it looked like the UN Security Council was going to take action.

But this did not happen and several allies of the opposition, including the UK, the US and Turkey, backed away from supporting military action after being outmanoeuvred by Russia, leaving Saudi Arabia as the sole supporter.

Then in late 2013, Iran signed an interim agreement to stop enriching uranium in return for the lifting of some sanctions. Riyadh was vehemently opposed, arguing that Tehran was effectively being rewarded for its sabre rattling.

Now, the kingdom has to make some tough decisions regarding several regional foreign policies. This could lead to a more isolationist stance on issues concerning Syria and Iran or a retreat to a more diplomatic position.

Whatever line Riyadh takes, it should not lose sight of the elevated status it enjoys with many of the world’s largest economies. A nuclear-free Iran is good for everyone, but so is keeping Saudi Arabia within the international fold.