Talks with Gulf states necessary for US-Iran deal revival: Saudi Arabia

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 05, 2020, 09:23 PM(IST)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Saudi Arabia warned that such an approach was the only path towards a sustainable agreement

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that a consultation with Gulf states was necessary if US nuclear agreement with Iran was to be revived. It warned that such an approach was the only path towards a sustainable agreement. Under the leadership of Joe Biden, there are signs that the US will return to the nuclear deal with Iran that was struck in 2015. Donald Trump had withdrawn from the agreement.  

Biden has indicated that he will bring Iran's US-allied Arab neighbours, such as Saudi Arabia, which sees Iran as its arch-rival, into the process.

"Primarily what we expect is that we are fully consulted, that we and our other regional friends are fully consulted in what goes on vis a vis the negotiations with Iran," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told AFP.

 

"The only way towards reaching an agreement that is sustainable is through such consultation," he said on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain's Manama.

"I think we've seen as a result of the after effects of the JCPOA that not involving the regional countries results in a build up of mistrust and neglect of the issues of real concern and of real effect on regional security."

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When he was asked whether the Biden administration was already in touch with Saudi Arabia to decide about revival of the deal, Prince Faisal said that there were no contacts as yet but that Saudi Arabia was reasy to engage with Biden when he takes office.

"We are confident that both an incoming Biden administration, but also our other partners, including the Europeans, have fully signed on to the need to have all the regional parties involved in a resolution," he said.

'JCPOA plus plus'

Germany said in recent days that a new, broader Iran nuclear accord must be reached to also rein in Tehran's ballistic missile programme, warning that the 2015 deal was no longer enough.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, talked of a "nuclear agreement plus", in language also deployed by the Saudi minister.

"I don't know about a revived JCPOA, although one may look to a JCPOA plus plus, something well beyond the JCPOA," Prince Faisal said.

"Because reviving the  JCPOA as it exists now will only bring us to the point where we were, which is a deficient agreement that doesn't address the full issues related to Iran's nuclear activities and other original activities."

Saudi Arabia has been targeted with dozens of ballistic missile and drone attacks since the start of last year, including a devastating strike on Aramco's facilities in the country's east, which temporarily knocked out half the kingdom's crude output. 

That strike was claimed by the Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is fighting a grinding five-year conflict to back the internationally recognised government, but the United States said it involved cruise missiles from Iran. 

(With AFP inputs)

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