PHOTO: An Iranian protest over Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr

I spoke with BBC Radio Wales on Friday morning about the latest developments in the Iranian-Saudi diplomatic crisis, including a Saudi airstrike early Thursday that damaged Iran’s Embassy in Yemen.

The conversation considered the wider effects of the dispute, notably on the Yemen and Syrian civil wars, and what is likely to happen next.

Listen from 42:30

Some people will say immediate that this is a sectarian dispute between Iran is led by Shia Muslim clerics and Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Muslim-led system. Each side will use that sectarian label to denounce the other.

But fundamentally this is a contest for influence and power….This battle for influence has been compounded by the catalyst of the Syrian conflict….Until you deal with the Syrian crisis, you give each side a cause to let these tensions spiral.