President Joe Biden’s insistence on bringing the United States back into the nuclear deal with Iran has prompted a former Saudi official to warn Gulf nations to prepare for a nuclear-armed Islamic regime.
Turki al-Faisal, a former intelligence chief, hinted that the new U.S. administration had submitted to Iranian extortion,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.
He “called on the Gulf countries to prepare for the day when Iran will have nuclear weapons,” the report said.
MEMRI reported: “The Saudi displeasure at the U.S. actions regarding Iran was expressed also in articles and op-eds in its press. They stated that the U.S. and Europe were showing negligence and hesitance in the face of Iran’s advancing nuclear program, and that not only did the U.S. lack a consistent policy regarding Iran but it was also falling into line with Iran and leveraging the Iranian issue in order to actualize its interests in the region and in the world.”
MEMRI said it “should be noted that since Biden was elected president, fears in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries regarding his policy of conciliation vis-à-vis Iran at their expense have continued to intensify.”
The U.S. and Iran began indirect talks in Vienna this month with the goal of resurrecting the 2015 JCPOA deal orchestrated by Barack Obama and John Kerry.
The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from it in 2018, arguing it didn’t prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Several Middle East writers have criticized Biden for ignoring the “apprehensions” of nations in the region.
In fact, al-Faisal, now chairman of the board of directors of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said at a virtual Bahrain conference on April 8 that returning to the nuclear agreement with Iran would only exacerbate the conflicts in the region.
The Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily in English reported: “Al-Faisal criticized Iran’s aggressive behavior towards the Gulf states in particular and Arab countries in general. He told a large virtual Arab forum held by Bahrain’s Al-Bilad daily, with the participation of more than 60 leading Arab figures, that the danger of the Iranian leadership was reflected in its ‘political hegemony and interference in the affairs of our countries and its relentless pursuit of nuclear technology.’”
He explained that Iran’s neighbors are living in danger “every day,” and that includes more than just its nuclear program.
The report said al-Faisal emphasized that “returning to the nuclear deal would not solve the problem of the Iranian regime’s danger to the region, but would instead fuel conflict: ‘We in the Gulf States must prepare for all possibilities, especially that of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.’”
Iran responded to the original JCPOA “by exporting its Islamic Revolution,” the writer said. And President Trump was pressuring Iran to recognize the failings of the first agreement when Biden took over, the report said.
He “returned to the agreement, even though his administration is aware of the concern and the reservations regarding the agreement itself on the part of the countries in the region, in light of Iran’s policy and behavior in the region.”
In the Saudi daily ‘Okaz, a commentary said Biden “has made no decision to stop the arrogant conduct of the Iranian regime.”
The publication said: “Washington hesitates, Europe evades [responsibility], and the world follows what is happening and remains silent. The regime of the ayatollahs advances in its nuclear program in order to destroy the world.”
Saudi journalist Ali bin Hamad Al-Khashiban wrote in Al-Riyadh that the U.S. government “continues to fall into line with Iran,” despite the hostility in the relationships.
“I am concerned when I look at the role played by the U.S. in the shaping of Iran [as it is now]. It has shown more patience [with Iran] than with any other country in the region… Everyone can see that there is deep hostility between the two countries, but history has taught us that the two repeatedly return to square one in their efforts towards agreement and mutual understanding: Iran scores successes, while the U.S… falls into line with Iran’s change in direction,” he wrote.
Mashari Al-Dhaidi, a journalist for Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote that Trump “demand[ed] a better deal than the defective one his predecessor reached with the Iranians,” but Biden is on the wrong path.
“As the old saying goes, ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,’” he wrote. “It is unclear whether the main goal is just starting negotiations and talks with the Iran while putting everything else on the back burner, or the ultimate purpose is weakening the Iranian regime. Or, perhaps, the U.S. is seeking to deter and prevent Iran’s nuclear program and hostile missile capacities, and put an end to its insidious policies in the Middle East.”
The journalist wrote: “Well, wasn’t Trump taking this path? What changed?”
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