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Saudi Arabia assured on Iran nuclear deal

September 5, 2015

On a visit to Washington, Saudi Arabia's King Salman has been assured on the terms for the Iran nuclear deal by President Barack Obama. Discussions on military technology and weapons systems were also on the agenda.

Bild Kombo US Präsident Barack Obama König von Saudi Arabien Salman bin Abdelasis
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Michael Reynolds/epa/Bernd von Jutrczenka

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."

Saudi Arabia supports opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

The kingdom has been leading a coalition against rebels in Yemen with airstrikes since March, and on Friday Obama and Salman shared their concerns about the country. Both countries agreed on the need to restore a functioning government in Yemen and to address the humanitarian situation there.

Ahead of the visit, US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Washington wanted to see more care taken to avoid civilian casualties in the airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Saudi foreign minister said the humanitarian situation in Yemen was being exacerbated by the rebels, claiming that supplies were at risk of being diverted from the people who most needed them. But al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia was working with international organizations to deliver supplies to Yemen.

After the meeting, Obama played down any apparent cooling of relations between the US and Saudi Arabia. "We continue to cooperate extremely closely in countering terrorist activities in the region and around the world, including the battle against ISIS," Obama said, referring to the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" group.

Saudi defense

Obama and Salman also discussed American military technology and weapons systems for Saudi Arabia, al-Jubeir said. The two leaders talked about a "new strategic partnership" between the two countries, although he gave few details.

Earlier, Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman met with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to discuss Saudi Arabia's underlying defense requirements.

Discussions on arms supplies include a billion-dollar deal with US Navy contractor Lockheed Martin for two frigates which would be at the center of a modernization program for the Saudi eastern fleet.

jm/cmk (Reuters, EFE)