Riyadh Reaction to Iran Nuclear Deal

Published: November 25, 2013

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Patrick W. Ryan | SUSRIS

The Government of Saudi Arabia reacted today to the interim agreement reached over the weekend between the international community, represented by the P5+1 group, and Iran over the country’s nuclear development program. Crown Prince Salman chaired a meeting of the Saudi cabinet on Monday and it produced a statement to the Saudi Press Agency that led with reaction to the Iran deal:

“In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja, the Minister of Culture and Information, said that the Cabinet reviewed a number of reports on the development of the situations at regional and international arenas. In regard to Iran and group 5+1′s agreement, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had viewed carefully the Geneva Agreement of the group (5+1) and Iran around the Iranian nuclear program on 21 Muharram 1435, November 24 2013.

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“The Kingdom viewed the agreement as a primary step towards a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear program. As far as good intentions are provided and as long as it concludes to a Middle East and gulf region free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. Hoping that such a step will be followed by more important steps leading to guarantee the right for all countries in the region to peacefully use nuclear energy.”

The notion of a Middle East WMD free zone has been a major element of Riyadh’s approach to dealing with Iran’s nuclear aspirations. In October Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Ambassador to the United States, was asked by SUSRIS what would Saudi Arabia have Washington do in the case of Iran? He answered, “I think we would have them support a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. There was going to be a meeting .. last year .. it was canceled, basically by the United States. If the U.S. is serious about nuclear non-proliferation why cancel a meeting just because you think that either Israel or Iran or somebody else does not want to play ball? It’s too important to allow countries like those in the Middle East simply to stymie this effort.”

Prince Turki, who does not hold an official position in the government but is recognized as someone with deep insights into Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy, went on to describe a Middle East WMD free zone proposal he wrote earlier this year, published by Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He said getting such a thing done was “where leadership comes in” and put the responsibility for it on the five permanent members of the Security Council.

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OFFICIAL REMARKS

  • Iran Nuclear Deal – President Obama Statement – SUSRIS – Nov 24, 2013  “..Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon..” Complete statement…
  • Iran Nuclear Deal – Kerry Remarks – SUSRIS – Nov 24, 2013 “..Today, we are taking a serious step toward answering all of those important questions that have been raised through the United Nations Security Council, through the IAEA, and by individual countries. And we are taking those steps with an agreement that impedes the progress in a very dramatic way of Iran’s principal enrichment facilities and parts of its program, and ensures they cannot advance in a way that will threaten our friends in the region, threaten other countries, threaten the world. The fact is that if this step – first step – leads to what is our ultimate goal, which is a comprehensive agreement that will make the world safer..” Complete remarks…
  • Iran Nuclear Deal – White House Fact Sheet – SUSRIS – Nov 24, 2013
  • “..President Obama has been clear that achieving a peaceful resolution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is in America’s national security interest. Today, the P5+1 and Iran reached a set of initial understandings that halts the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and rolls it back in key respects..” Complete fact sheet…
  • Prime Minister David Cameron comments on international agreement with Iran – Gov.UK – Nov 24, 2013 “We now have an international agreement with Iran that moves it further away from getting a nuclear weapon. This is an important first step, which must now be fully implemented. We will continue to enforce sanctions robustly in order to secure a comprehensive and final settlement that fully addresses the real and substantive concerns of the international community.” Complete statement…
  • Secretary Kerry – Remarks With United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague Before Their Meeting – Nov 24, 2013 – US State Dept – Complete remarks…
  • Interview With Margaret Brennan of CBS’s Face the Nation – State.gov – Nov 24, 2013 – Complete remarks…
  • Interview With Candy Crowley of CNN’s State of the Union – State.gov – Nov 24, 2013 – Complete interview…
  • Interview With George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s This Week – State.gov – Nov 24, 2013 – Complete interview…
  • Iran Nuclear Deal – Joint Plan of Action – SUSRIS – Nov 24, 2013 “..The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons..” Complete statement…
  • Special Report | SecState Kerry, ForMin Prince Saud Al-Faisal Press Conference – SUSRIS – Nov 4, 2013
  • Commentary | Saudi Arabia Gets Tough On Foreign Policy – Obaid – SUSRIS – OCT 26, 2013
  • Secretary Kerry, Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal Bilateral Meeting – SUSRIS – Sep 25, 2013
  • Secretary Kerry, Prince Saud al-Faisal Talk Syria in Jeddah – SUSRIS – Jun 26, 2013

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PRESS REPORTING

Iran nuclear deal: Saudi Arabia and Gulf react with caution – TheGuardian – Nov 24, 2013
Saudi Arabia maintained a discreet silence on Sunday about the Iranian nuclear deal in Geneva but is thought likely to issue a guarded welcome despite its strong and clearly signaled reservations about what it fears is the rehabilitation of its longstanding regional rival.
Analysts in Riyadh said it would be diplomatically impossible for the Saudi government to publicly condemn an agreement designed to contain Iranian nuclear ambitions however deep its concerns about the direction of evolving US policy. Complete report…

Historic Iran Deal Aimed At Final Nuclear Resolution – LobeLog – Nov 24, 2013
Geneva — A momentous agreement over Iran’s nuclear program was officially announced shortly after 3:00am by Iranian and French diplomats leaving the lobby of the InterContinental Hotel here on Nov. 24 following more than 4 days of grueling talks.
The deal occurred after years of negotiations with Iran but only 3.5 months after the inauguration of Iran’s moderate President, Hassan Rouhani, who has already presided over several historic foreign policy milestones.
“We just finished many days of hard work,” said Iran’s lead negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the night’s first press conference shortly after signing a 4-page agreement with his P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) counterparts at the Palais des Nations.
Complete report…

Iran strikes nuclear deal with world powers – ArabNews – Nov 24, 2013
GENEVA: Iran struck a historic deal Sunday with world powers US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, agreeing to a temporary freeze of its nuclear program in the most significant agreement between Washington and Tehran in more than three decades of estrangement.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani endorsed the agreement, which commits Iran to curb its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for limited and gradual sanctions relief, including access to $4.2 billion from oil sales. The six-month period will give diplomats time to negotiate a more sweeping agreement.
It builds on the momentum of the public dialogue opened during September’s annual UN gathering, which included a 15-minute phone conversation between US President Barack Obama and Rouhani, who was elected in June.
Complete report…

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FROM THE FARS NEWS AGENCY, IRAN

Leader Appreciates Negotiators, Urges Resistance against Opposite Party’s Greediness
FARS News Agency – Nov 24, 2013
Ayatollah Khamenei made the statements in response to President Rouhani, who had in an earlier letter felicitated the Leader on the successful performance of the Iranian team of negotiators in the recent talks with the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, France and Britain plus Germany) in Geneva.
“Achieving what you have written is worth appreciation and praise to the nuclear negotiating team and other relevant officials and can be the basis for future smart moves,” the Leader wrote in his response letter to President Rouhani on Sunday.
Complete report…

FM: Iran to Continue Nuclear Activities
FARS News Agency – Nov 24, 2013
“The (nuclear) program has been recognized and the Iranian people’s right to use the peaceful nuclear technology based on the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) and as an inalienable right has been recognized and countries are necessitated not to create any obstacle on its way,” Zarif said in a press conference in Geneva on Saturday morning. “The (nuclear) program will continue and all the sanctions and violations against the Iranian nation under the pretext of the nuclear program will be removed gradually,” he added. He said the next six months will be a serious start towards “the full removal of all UN Security Council, unilateral and multilateral sanctions, while the country’s enrichment program will be maintained.” “Production of 5-percent-enriched uranium will continue in the country similar the past,” Zarif continued.
Complete report…

Rouhani: Nuclear Deal Marks Failure of Enemies’ Attempts to Promote Iranophobia
FARS News Agency – Nov 24, 2013
“The enemy wanted to promote Iranophobia among the world public opinion,” Rouhani told reporters in a press briefing in Tehran on Sunday.
“The negotiations (between Iran and the world powers) created an atmosphere that the confidence between Iran and the other countries was directed towards the right path,” he added.
“Of course, confidence is a two-way road and others should also build our confidence but the preliminary steps have been taken towards confidence-building,” Rouhani underlined.
He, meantime, stressed that “we have a long way to go before reaching full confidence”.

Complete report…

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