Unlike Israel’s Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia now says it supports Iran Nuclear Deal

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The Saudi-owned, pan-Arab London daily al-Sharq al-Awsat (the Middle East) reported on the meeting Friday between King Salman of Saudi Arabia and President Obama and their top foreign policy and security teams.

It said,

“American officials told al-Sharq al-Awsat that President Obama is eager to calm Saudi anxieties about Iranian influence and its interventions in the region, and that he pledged that the US would hold Iran’s feet to the fire about implementing its undertakings and preventing it from ever possessing a nuclear weapon. President Obama also vowed that his country would guarantee the security of the Gulf region and would expedite the arrival of American military frigates, in accordance with agreements already reached.”

In a news conference held after Friday’s consultations, DW reports,

‘”Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Friday that President Barack Obama had assured the Saudi king that the deal agreed in July with Iran prevents Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, includes inspections of military and suspected sites and has a provision for re-imposing sanctions should Iran violate the agreement.

Al-Jubeir said that under those conditions, Saudi Arabia would support the deal.

“Now we have one less problem for the time being to deal with, with regards to Iran,” al-Jubeir said after a meeting between the king and Obama on Friday. “We can now focus more intensely on the nefarious activities that Iran is engaged in in the region.”‘

It is not clear whether the Saudi acceptance of the nuclear agreement with Iran is sincere or just a form of summitry politeness. But that the Saudis are willing to assent to the agreement publicly is what matters for politics. Other Middle Eastern countries may well follow Riyadh’s lead here.

Al-Jubeir was obviously saying that Saudi Arabia’s problems with Iran go well beyond that country’s facilities for enrichment of uranium. In Syria, Saudi Arabia wants Bashar al-Assad gone, as a war criminal. Obama agreed with King Salman that Bashar al-Assad must go. But Obama clearly doesn’t consider removal of al-Assad to be a front-burner activity, and is more focused on rolling back Daesh (ISIL, ISIS).

The US and Saudi Arabia also took up the issue of Yemen, where some 50 troops were killed Friday when Houthi rebels shelled a munitions depot on a military base . The Houthis by deploying a tribal militia to take over the country were overambitious and are likely to be rolled back. Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia was reluctant to send in food aid to Yemen lest it benefit the Houthi rebels. Riyadh wants the United Nations to take charge of establishing humanitarian corridors for food delivery.

Al-Jubeir blamed Iran for interfering in the Arab world since its 1979 revolution. (Ayatollah Khomeini declared kingship illegitimate in Islam, which rather bothered the Saudi royal family, and called on Iraqi Shiites to rise up against their Sunni-dominated Baathist government. On the other hand, to be fair, Iran didn’t invade any countries but was invaded by Iraq with substantial Saudi financial backing, so this talk of unwarranted interference in the Middle East is a little rich.)

In the end, it is with high-powered new weaponry that the US is enticing Saudi cooperation.

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Related video:

PBS, ” Obama Wins Saudi Endorsement of Iran Nuclear Deal”

10 Responses

  1. Jos Marten

    Bibi got $20 bill. from Congress,plus top set of US missiles+Jets+cutting edge US Tech that they will sell to China ,great deal !

  2. This Iran deal will increase the likelihood of war not diminish it. US will be sending more frigates, giving bunker buster bombs, tunnel
    Detection technology, F 35’s to Israel and will arm maternity ward of extremism in Islamic namely with more arms. Iran will have lost the deterrent of being nuclear state and will be an easier prey to The united front of US, Israel and Saudi. When you have arms you will use. See the example of the previously timid Saudi in Yemen and Syria. The real problem is the Lobby and Adelsons alike and that they have to be confronted not that before even the ink of agreement is dry USG stoops in front of lobby and make up with them.
    Wake up gentlemen!
    This is a bad deal for the Iranian people. I hope not but Iran will be Iraq redux.

    • Good morning! The economic arrangements Iran is forging eastwards have significant defence treaties associated with them, a military cooperation agreement was signed in January link to tass.ru . The Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said, the need for tighter defense cooperation has always been of importance to bilateral relations.This is logical, not least because the mutual investment in transcontinental fuel pipes alone is in billions. Russia (Lavrov) is on record saying a solution to ISIS requires first the resolution of the Syrian turmoil, which is about to be actively pursued by Russia, Iran and Cairo, plus others in the region, as a prelude to bringing an end to ISIS and other terrorist groups, something the US has proved far from effective in achieving. The idea Saudi Arabia and Israel would take on such a coalition engaged in such a purpose is scarcely credible.

    • What I’ve read is that this agreement clears the way for Iran joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In other words, the anti-NATO. Consider what that means if the US decides to doublecross the deal and invade.

  3. I guess the important news is that Saudi Arabia is not joining Israel and the GOP in demanding regime change. That’s what opposing the agreement is really about. Maybe the Saudis should explain that to the Democratic senators who claim that Iranian nukes are a threat to the region.

  4. More arms from the US to Israel, Saudi Arabia and to other ME countries for the little boy generals, soldiers and terrorists to continue fighting and killing.

    When does the insanity stop?

    When a group of terrorists steal a single nuclear bomb and bomb Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey or wherever and start Nuclear World War 1?

    The US government is insane to continue supplying weapons to little boy general, soldiers and terrorists that don’t really know what their doing.

    Israel and Saudi Arabia may be the greatest threats of a nuclear war that could destroy the world.

  5. “Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia was reluctant to send in food aid to Yemen lest it benefit the Houthi rebels. ”

    Wow, so Saudi is copying Israel’s policies regarding Palestine. Ugh.

  6. And here’s another new supporter of the deal: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Representative from a very Jewish district in Florida, who previously opposed the Iran deal, has now come around and is supporting it.

    Link: link to nytimes.com

  7. While it is true that publicly at least the Saudi government is not opposing the deal, they have revealed their opposition in private and funding their lobbyists in DC to undermine the deal. Note, this supposed support for the deal comes at a price, which is the US giving a carte blanche to Saudi Arabia to do as it wishes to the people of Yemen.

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