Arab Gulf States are finally reacting, albeit reservedly, to the Iran nuclear deal announced in Vienna earlier this week.
On Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir told his American counterpart John Kerry that Riyadh hopes that Iran will take advantage of the nuclear deal to fix its battered economy.
However, he warned that Saudi Arabia would respond resolutely to any sign of Iran’s adventurism – or “mischief” in the region. He reiterated the comments of an unnamed Saudi official quoted in that country’s press who said that inspections of Iran’s sensitive military and nuclear sites must be intrusive and determined.
When US President Barack Obama meets Jubeir at the White House today, he will tray and allay some of the fears – and anger – expressed by Washington’s closes Arab allies.
Although some Arab states have shared Israel’s fears that Iran is now unrestrained – especially with the anticipated lifting of UN sanctions and arms embargos – their reaction has been comparatively muted – at least publicly.
Kuwait, for example, called on Iran to use the Vienna agreement to ease tensions in the region and “boost confidence-building measures between the international community and Iran”.
UAE ruler Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan congratulated Iran earlier in the week and said in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani that the agreement should lead to regional security and stability, and a nuclear weapons-free part of the world.
Egypt, considered by many to be the last Arab power, voiced its hopes that the Vienna agreement would not spark an arms race in the region.
Meanwhile, in a Time Magazine opinion piece published on Thursday, UAE political commentator Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi says that Iran’s Arab neighbors are concerned about the regional political tensions caused by Tehran.
“After all, Iran’s soft and hard power have been at conflict both in clandestine and in the open in the region. There are numerous proxy wars raging from Syria to Yemen
and Lebanon to Iraq that are supported by Iran on one side and the Gulf States on the other,” he writes.
The BRICS Post