Unlike Western countries, Russia has good working relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran. This makes Putin the most suitable candidate for the role of a mediator in this conflict.
"This could be Vladimir Puin's special card up his sleeve," Daniel Vernet said, according to Slate.
Things between Saudi Arabia and Iran have dramatically escalated following the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh last week.
As the Saudi-Iranian diplomatic row was developing during the first days of 2016, all major powers urged the two sides to "ease tensions." The United States stressed the importance of maintaining negotiations, Federica Mogherini expressed a serious concern on behalf of the European Union, while France called for "de-escalation," the author said.
As much as Western countries want to reconcile Saudi Arabia and Iran, they simply don't have enough diplomatic ties with Tehran to make them need their advice. For example, in recent years France has worked closely with Saudi Arabia on a number of strategic and trade issues. Thus, Tehran has long lost trust in Paris.
Although the United States managed to successfully work with Iran over the issue of its nuclear program last year, the fact that Washington has been a long-time ally of the Saudi government makes it an "unreliable" partner in the eyes of Iran, Vernet explained.
Putin met Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman last summer during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to discuss how the two countries could work together in the future.
Considering that Moscow and Riyadh have opposing interests in Syria, some might think it would be difficult for Putin to find common ground with the Saudi royal family. It certainly will not be walk in the park for Putin, but the Russian president has already showed his willingness to work out political differences and come up with working solutions time and again, Vernet said.