Posts Tagged ‘Adel al-Jubeir’

Saudi Arabia ‘to seek nuclear weapon’ if Iran resumes program — Tehran’s actions like a ‘declaration of war’ after attempted Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

May 10, 2018

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir says Tehran’s actions like a ‘declaration of war’ after attempted Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

Saudi Arabia will seek to develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran does, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday. (SPA)

Iran’s actions amount to a “declaration of war,” the Saudi foreign minister warned on Wednesday, after two ballistic missiles were fired toward Riyadh by Tehran-backed Houthi militias.

Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking to CNN, said Saudi Arabia would seek to develop its own nuclear weapons capacity should Iran do the same.

He was speaking the day after US President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 deal that seeks to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain praised the decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would “build a bomb itself” if Iran resumes its nuclear weapons program, Al-Jubeir said: “If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”

Two ballistic missiles were fired at the Saudi capital Riyadh on Wednesday, according to the coalition battling Houthis in neighboring Yemen, which claimed the attempted attack.

“These missiles are Iranian manufactured and delivered to the Houthis. Such behavior is unacceptable. It violates UN Resolutions with regards to ballistic missiles. And the Iranians must be held accountable for this,” Al-Jubeir told CNN.

“We will find the right way and at the right time to respond to this … We are trying to avoid at all costs direct military action with Iran, but Iran’s behavior such as this cannot continue. This amounts to a declaration of war.”

Iran witnessed public protests around the New Year, with some angered by the country’s financial support for foreign groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, amid economic problems at home.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist, said that the reimposition of sanctions on Iran would likely make it more challenging for Iran to “hemorrhage billions of dollars” on proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis.

But he added that supporting such groups would remain a priority for Iran. “Even before the nuclear deal when the Iran regime was crippled with multilateral and unilateral economic sanctions, Tehran still continued to support militias, proxies and terrorist groups,” Rafizadeh told Arab News.

“The Iranian regime will more likely cut social welfare on its own citizens in order to afford supporting its proxies.”

Phillip Smyth, Soref fellow at The Washington Institute, said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force have “secure sources” of funding. “If it appears (as has happened) that Iranians are not getting anything beneficial through the government, while the government continues its overseas/regional adventures, it certainly does not bode well for the government in Tehran,” he told Arab News.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1299706/saudi-arabia

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Pompeo: Current nuclear agreement not enough to curb Iran’s ways

April 29, 2018

United States’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in Saudi Arabia said that the current nuclear agreement with Iran is “not enough.” “Iran has been acting worse since the signing of the nuclear deal,” Pompeo said.

United States’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint press conference on Sunday with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir in Riyadh that the current nuclear agreement with Iran is “not enough.” (AFP)

DUBAI: United States’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint press conference on Sunday with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir in Riyadh that the current nuclear agreement with Iran is “not enough” to curb its ways, Saudi state-news agency Al-Ekhbariya reported.

“Iran has been acting worse since the signing of the nuclear deal,” Pompeo said.

Meanwhile, Jubeir reiterated the need for more sanctions to be imposed on Iran due to its support for terrorism and missiles.

The two also discussed the need to find political solution in Yemen, as well as Saudi Arabia’s security being a US priority.

(Developing)

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1293411/saudi-arabia

Pompeo starts Mideast tour with call for new Iran sanctions

April 29, 2018

Iranian ballistic missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia, Iran exporting aggressive military power to Lebanon and Syria, threats to Israel — “Enough is enough.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on a hastily-arranged visit to the Middle East as the United States aims to muster support for new sanctions against Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was met by the Saudi foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, upon his arrival in Riyadh. Credit Saudi Press Agency, via Reuters

Reuters

The visit to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Amman just two days after Pompeo was sworn-in comes as President Donald Trump is set to decide whether to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that is still supported by European powers.

“We are urging nations around the world to sanction any individuals and entities associated with Iran’s missile program, and it has also been a big part of discussions with Europeans,” Brian Hook, a senior policy advisor traveling with Pompeo, told reporters.

Hook said a salvo of ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi movement that killed a man earlier on Saturday had been provided by Tehran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, in Brussels on Friday. “I was sworn in yesterday afternoon, I hopped straight on a plane and came straight here,” Mr. Pompeo said. CreditPool photo by Virginia Mayo

“Iran’s missiles prolong war and suffering in the Middle East, they threaten our security and economic interests and they especially threaten Saudi Arabia and Israel,” he said.

The 2015 deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief does not cover its missile program.

Trump has called it the “worst deal ever” and threatened to re-impose sanctions unless Britain, France and Germany agree to fix it. Resuming sanctions would likely kill the deal.

Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France, which all struck the accord with Iran and the United States, see the deal as the best way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

Speaking after a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Friday, Pompeo said Trump had not taken a decision on whether to abandon the deal but was not likely to stick to it without substantial changes.

“There’s been no decision, so the team is working and I am sure we will have lots of conversations to deliver what the president has made clear,” Pompeo told a news conference.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 28, 2018. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Earlier this week French President Emmanuel Macron called on Trump not to abandon the deal, although he later acknowledged he thought he would pull out.

The Trump administration is also currently reviewing the U.S. role in fighting Islamic State in Syria’s seven-year conflict. Trump has called on Gulf countries to provide funding and troops to stabilize areas once controlled by the group in Syria.

Pompeo was one of the first Trump administration officials to visit Saudi Arabia early in his tenure as CIA director.

In Riyadh, Pompeo was greeted on the tarmac by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. He is expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman during the visit.

Slideshow (2 Images)

(The story was refiled to fix a typo in the headline)

Editing By Noah Browning and Robin Pomeroy

See also:

Pompeo’s Message to Saudis? Enough Is Enough: Stop Qatar Blockade

NYT:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/28/world/middleeast/mike-pompeo-saudi-arabia-qatar-blockade.html

Related:

Pompeo makes Middle East diplomatic debut from Saudi Arabia

April 29, 2018

New Secretary of  State has already been to European meetings of NATO…

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at his office in Riyadh on April 27, 2018. (SPA)

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RIYADH: Washington’s newly appointed secretary of state landed in Riyadh Saturday on a tour of America’s key Middle East allies, after vowing to bring some “swagger” back to US diplomacy.

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After attending NATO talks in Brussels, Mike Pompeo embarked on a three-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan to update friends on President Donald Trump’s plans for the Iran nuclear deal.

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Pompeo was met on the tarmac in Riyadh by a sizeable Saudi Arabian delegation, including the kingdom’s foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, and US ambassador Khalid bin Salman — brother of the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Trump is widely expected to pull the United States out of the Iran accord next month, re-imposing sanctions against Tehran’s nuclear program. Pompeo insists the president has not yet made the decision.

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The former CIA chief, who was sworn in as Trump’s top diplomat on Thursday and set off within two hours for Brussels, will consult with leaders of Iran’s main regional opponents ahead of the announcement.

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But he also has a second more personal mission, to show foreign capitals and his own colleagues that US diplomacy is back on track after the troubled reign of his sacked predecessor Rex Tillerson.

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Trump’s first secretary of state, a former oil executive, failed to fill senior positions, embarked on unpopular bureaucratic reforms and had conspicuously little chemistry with the president.

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Pompeo — a former army officer, businessman and conservative congressman — wanted to set off on the road immediately on being sworn in, in order to reach out to NATO and Middle East allies.

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But he has promised to address State Department staff in Washington on his return on Tuesday, and was full of praise for the staff who scrambled to put together his first foreign itinerary.

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“I just met with a great group of State Department officers who work here at the mission. They may have been demoralized, but they seemed in good spirits,” he said Friday, at NATO headquarters.

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“They are hopeful that the State Department will get its swagger back, that we will be out doing the things that they came onboard at the State Department to do,” he promised.

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“To be professional, to deliver diplomacy — American diplomacy — around the world, that’s my mission set, to build that esprit and get the team on the field so that we can effectuate American diplomacy.”

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The former Kansas politician is seen as an anti-Iran hawk with hard-line views about projecting US military might, and his socially conservative opinions might be out of place at the State Department.

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In Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Pompeo is due to hold talks with Jubeir in Riyadh, before having dinner with Prince Mohammed, who has strengthened his ties to Washington since being appointed in June.

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Trump also wants Riyadh to do more and spend more to support the US-led operation in Syria to defeat the Daesh group and allow American forces to come home more quickly.

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After Saudi Arabia, Pompeo is due to fly on to Israel for talks with staunch US ally Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then to Jordan, a friend with a long border with war-torn Syria.

Qatari emir not attending Arab summit in Saudi Arabia

April 15, 2018

Reuters

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Qatar will not be represented by a senior official at an Arab summit taking place in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, in a sign that a nearly year-old dispute between Gulf Arab neighbours is still a long way from being resolved.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott is an attempt to impinge on its sovereignty.

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 Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani

The Qatari delegation will be headed by Doha’s permanent representative to the Arab League, Saif bin Muqaddam al-Buainain, the state news agency said without elaborating.

Most of the 22 other countries are represented by heads of state or government. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani headed Qatar’s delegation at last year’s Arab summit in Jordan.

Sheikh Tamim returned to Doha on Saturday from a U.S. trip where he met President Donald Trump, who had publicly sided with the Saudis and Emiratis early in the crisis, but is now pushing for a resolution to restore Gulf Arab unity and maintain a united front against Iran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday that Qatar’s crisis would not be on the table at the Arab League summit, Al Arabiya reported.

Ahead of the summit, the four boycotting nations reaffirmed that their demands on Qatar — including closing Al Jazeera television station and reducing ties with Iran — were “a necessary basis” for a resolution to the crisis.

Reporting By Sarah Dadouch and Stephen Kalin; Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Jane Merriman

Trump to Greet Visiting Saudi Prince with a Crowded Agenda

March 20, 2018

Both countries touting this week’s meetings as reflection of growing ties between Washington and Riyadh.

President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman shaking hands last year in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman shaking hands last year in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC. PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is expected to meet Tuesday with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office, where the two leaders are likely to focus on combating Iran’s influence in the Middle East and strengthening ties between their two countries.

Mr. Trump has made relations with the ambitious 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne a cornerstone of his Middle East strategy and visited the kingdom last spring on the first stop of his first overseas trip as president.

For Prince Mohammed, who arrived in Washington, D.C. overnight, the visit is an opportunity to affirm his role as a ruler the U.S. can count on to advance shared goals like curbing Iran’s influence in the Arab world—and to pitch Saudi Arabia as a business destination.

But the deepening ties between the two countries face a number of challenges, including Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed by the country’s airstrikes.

The Senate could vote as soon as Tuesday on a bipartisan resolution that seeks to cut offU.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, which is aimed at fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels. The debate could cast a cloud over Prince Mohammed’s Washington visit.

But both countries are touting this week’s meetings as a reflection of the growing ties between Washington and Riyadh.

“Relations with the United States are at an all-time high,” Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister told reporters in Washington on Monday.

During his visit, Prince Mohammed will meet with top Trump administration officials and key congressional leaders eager to hear more about his plans for the kingdom.

Prince Mohammed emerged as the kingdom’s top decision maker after his father, King Salman, assumed the throne three years ago. Since then, the Saudi royal has overseen an ambitious domestic reform plan aimed at diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil and at liberalizing its ultraconservative society.

This is his first trip to the U.S. since he became heir to the throne in June, an episode that ushered in a period of chaos in the kingdom. In November, the crown prince directed a far-reaching corruption crackdown that targeted hundreds of people–among them princes, officials and prominent businessmen–rattling the royal family and spooking global investors. Many of the accused were released after reaching undisclosed cash settlements with the government.

Reassuring the business community and strengthening economic ties is a key goal of the Saudi royal’s nearly three-week U.S. tour.

The U.S. is hoping to secure up to $35 billion in new business deals with Saudi Arabia as Prince Mohammed travels to New York, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Seattle and Houston to discuss new ventures. Meetings with executives from Google, Apple and Lockheed Martin are among those on the agenda. U.S. and Saudi officials are expected to follow up on the status of possible business deals worth hundreds of billions–including $100 billion in arms sales alone–that were touted by both countries during Mr. Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last year.

The U.S. also sees Prince Mohammed as a key ally to accomplish its top foreign policy goal bridging differences between Israel and the Palestinians. Jared Kushner, whom the president has charged with restarting the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, views Prince Mohammed as an ally who can influence the Palestinians and bring them to the table.

U.S. officials also are also trying to forge a deal to end a regional crisis pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia and its allies in hopes of reuniting the Gulf nations in an important regional alliance. But Saudi officials have indicated this is not a priority for them, rejecting Washington’s mediation.

The U.S. praised Saudi Arabia on Monday for stepping up its humanitarian efforts in Yemen, but human rights groups say the measures don’t go far enough.

Mr. Jubeir dismissed critics who say his country is unnecessarily killing civilians and stoking a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

“I don’t see it as a quagmire,” he said.

A big focus of Prince Mohammed’s trip will be to try to fix Saudi Arabia’s image problem that never fully recovered from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which were carried out by mostly Saudi citizens. During his time in the U.S., Prince Mohammed can point to the steps his government has taken to curb the influence of Islamic hardliners and to loosen the kingdom’s strict social rules, such as the upcoming lifting of the ban on women driving.

“Forget about the old Saudi Arabia. Now he’s presenting the new country,” said Abdullah al Shammari, an academic and former senior Saudi diplomat. “We are brave enough to admit that we made mistakes, we tried our best to correct what we did before and we need you to understand that what is happening is important for Saudi Arabia, for the region and for the future.”

Write to Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com and Margherita Stancati at margherita.stancati@wsj.com 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-to-greet-visiting-saudi-prince-with-a-crowded-agenda-1521538201

 

U.S. to Open Nuclear-Energy Talks With Saudi Arabia – and Iran Deal May Pay the Price

February 27, 2018

Associated Press and Harretz

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will lead an interagency U.S. delegation to talks with the Saudis in London as it explores a civilian nuclear energy program, possibly without restrictions on uranium enrichment

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry delivers a speech during the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria, September 18, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry delivers a speech during the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria, September 18, 2017.Ronald Zak/AP

The Trump administration is opening talks with Saudi Arabia on a potentially lucrative atomic energy agreement that’s inextricably linked to an Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran. At stake: billions of dollars in contracts for U.S. companies and bigger questions about America’s ability to keep friend and foe alike from reaching nuclear weapons capability.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will lead an interagency U.S. delegation to talks with the Saudis in London on Friday, two administration officials and three outside advisers said. The meeting comes as the Arab powerhouse explores a civilian nuclear energy program, possibly without restrictions on uranium enrichment and reprocessing that would be required under a U.S. cooperation deal.

But there’s a catch: The Saudis have indicated they might accept such curbs if a separate nuclear deal with its arch-foe Iran is tightened, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The separate negotiations, over Saudi and Iranian nuclear capabilities, put American officials in the middle of the great balance-of-power of the modern Middle East. The Saudis are loath to sign away their ability to move closer to bomb-making capability while Iran is bound by a 2015 nuclear accord that will become increasingly lenient next decade.

When President Barack Obama blessed the nuclear compromise with Tehran, his officials insisted they weren’t weakening nonproliferation standards for everyone else. But that difficult task has fallen to President Donald Trump. And the Saudis, among his closest allies, are now asking a simple question: If Iran can enrich, why can’t we?

“Our objective is we want to have the same rights as other countries,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said this month at a security conference in Munich.

At issue on Perry’s trip is what’s known as a “123 agreement.” Without one, U.S. nuclear energy firms like Westinghouse would lose out on business opportunities with the Saudis. American officials and outside advisers said the Saudis have dangled the prospect of such contracts if new restrictions are imposed on Iran’s nuclear activity.

Trump shares many of the Saudi concerns over the Iran deal, which he’s called the worst ever and repeatedly threatened to walk away from. In January, he vowed he wouldn’t issue more waivers of U.S. sanctions — an Iran deal requirement — unless it’s amended to prevent Tehran from gradually resuming a variety of currently banned nuclear activities.

Such talks, primarily with Europe, are thus taking on added importance ahead of a mid-May deadline for more Trump waivers.

Trump has identified four specific problems that must be addressed, including two not covered by the deal: Expiration dates on some nuclear restrictions, inspection rules for Iranian military sites, ballistic missile work and Iranian activity in countries around the Middle East — where it has helped Syria’s government in a civil war and aided Yemeni rebels in another.

A team led by the State Department’s policy planning chief Brian Hook has met twice recently with European officials, in London last month and Paris last week. It’s seeking Europe’s commitment to re-impose sanctions with the U.S. if Iran violates a new set of nuclear restrictions. A third meeting is set for Berlin in March.

British, French and German official have been receptive to the ideas, according to the U.S. officials and advisers. The focus is on a supplemental agreement addressing Trump’s concerns without unravelling the original Iran deal, padded by European promises to consider tougher responses and sanctions for Iranian missile activity, support for Hezbollah and other non-nuclear matters.

As it is now, Iran can use thousands of centrifuges and enrich uranium, albeit to levels far short of weapons-grade material. Under 123 agreements, foreign countries can buy U.S. nuclear technology and the nuclear know-how that comes with it if they agree not to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium. Both can be used for nuclear weapons fuel.

The irony that an agreement designed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon lets it do more than its rivals isn’t lost on Saudi Arabia — or other countries that have voluntarily limited the scope of their programs. At least 23 countries have such agreements with Washington, including South Korea, South Africa and Vietnam.

The United Arab Emirates entered into a 123 agreement with the U.S. in 2009, one of the strictest ever reached. When the Iran deal was reached, the Emirati ambassador to Washington told Congress his country “no longer felt bound” by provisions preventing the UAE from enriching.

While Trump has aggressively courted the Saudi government, seeing the Sunni-led powerhouse as a bulwark against Shiite Iran, there is near universal agreement among national security experts that allowing any country to introduce nuclear weapons in the volatile Middle East would be a terrible idea. Currently, the only Mideast country believed to possess a nuclear arsenal is Israel.

But there are also concerns a U.S.-Saudi disagreement will lead the kingdom to turn to U.S. rivals Russia and China, whose state-owned nuclear companies are competing to build reactors in Saudi Arabia. That would give the United States even less insight into Saudi Arabia’s nuclear activities in the future.

The overlapping issues have Iran deal opponents insisting tougher rules on Iran is the easiest solution.

“A fix puts the administration in a much better position with the Saudis,” said Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “It’s a critical step in demanding adherence to the ‘gold standard’ as opposed to the Iran standard.”

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/u-s-to-open-nuclear-energy-talks-with-saudi-arabia-1.5862670

World ‘cannot trust Iran’ over nuclear future: Saudi foreign minister — Iran says will quit nuclear deal if major international banks continue to avoid doing business with Iran

February 23, 2018

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir says Iran needs to act as a normal country. (REUTERS file photo)
LONDON: Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of foreign affairs, said on Thursday that the nuclear deal with Iran was unacceptable because Tehran could not be trusted to not produce a nuclear bomb in the future.
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The so-called “sunset clause” in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) means that in eight to ten years’ time Iran could manufacture a nuclear bomb “within weeks.”
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Addressing the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament, Al-Jubeir said: “We believe the sunset provision is very dangerous. We don’t trust that Iran will not try (to make a nuclear bomb) eight to 10 years from now.
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“By the time they kick out the inspectors and by the time the condemnations end, they’ll have one bomb,” he said. “By the time they get a resolution in the UN, they’ll have three bombs and by the time the resolution is in place they’ll have a dozen bombs. And we are right next to them.
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“Our point is enough is enough. They need to start to act as a normal country. The revolution is over. If they want to be respected in the world they need to abide by the rules of the world.”
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The sunset clause allows Iran to gradually increase production of centrifuges and uranium enrichment after eight to ten years.
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Speaking in London at the Royal Institute for International Affairs at Chatham House a few hours earlier, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi denied that the JCPOA contained a sunset clause, saying the deal made clear Iran’s “permanent” commitment to not having nuclear weapons.
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Abbas Araghchi
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But he insisted the nuclear deal still gave Iran the right to continue its ballistic missile program.
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“We — that is Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action participants — decided quite intentionally to de-link Iran’s nuclear program from any other issue. Otherwise if we had wanted to have a package — with ballistic missiles, regional issues — then we would still be in negotiations,” said Araghchi, who is also Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.
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“We were successful (in negotiating JCPOA) because we focused on one issue. It would be a big mistake if anyone tried to link the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to any other issue — to regional issues, to Syria or Yemen. Not only would we lose the JCPOA but it would not help those other issues.”
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He accused the US of pouring “poison” on Iran by prevaricating over whether Tehran had complied with the terms of the nuclear deal.
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“The US has created an atmosphere of uncertainty. This is like poison for the business community for Iran. This destructive atmosphere prevents banks, companies, entities from working with Iran.”
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US President Donald Trump’s denunciations of the deal were “a violation of the letter and the text of the deal, not just the spirit.”
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Iran had accepted some restrictions on its stockpiles of material as part of the deal to earn the trust of the other parties to the deal.
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“We have accepted these limitations to our nuclear program to build confidence,” Araghchi said. “When these restrictions are finished it doesn’t mean Iran can go for the bomb.”
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Araghchi told the Chatham House audience that while the nuclear deal “is a successful story for you — the West,” Iranians had not benefited greatly from the lifting of sanctions because of what he described as the suspicion and mistrust generated primarily by the US.

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Iranian official: We may leave nuclear deal if banks don’t come to Iran

Facing uncertainty over proliferation of sanctions against Islamic Republic, many financial institutions still won’t back investments in the country

“It is not a choice for economic cooperation: it’s a choice between having security or insecurity.”

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Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi addresses the United Nations Security Council during a meeting on Iraq on September 19, 2014 at UN headquarters in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)

Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi addresses the United Nations Security Council during a meeting on Iraq on September 19, 2014 at UN headquarters in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)

A senior Iranian official said Thursday that Tehran may choose to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with six world powers if major international banks continued to avoid doing business in the Islamic Republic.

While the deal largely ended nuclear-related sanctions on Tehran, other sanctions, including those targeting its support for terror groups like Hezbollah and its ballistic missile program, continue despite the deal. Many banks are worried that doing business in Iran could cost them dearly, especially in the United States, if western officials determine their business ties contradict the requirements of existing sanctions.

Speaking at the Chatham House think tank in London, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the deal cannot “survive this way,” according to a Reuters report on his comments.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the scrapping or amending of the nuclear deal, and said if some key issues were not addressed — including lack of international inspections of Iran’s military nuclear sites, as well as the lifting of some nuclear restrictions after 2025 — the US might withdraw entirely and reimpose the sanctions lifted under the deal.

But even if that does not happen, Araghchi said, “the deal would not survive this way.”

“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us,” Araghchi added, according to Reuters. “That’s a fact.”

Araghchi also rejected the US and Israeli view that the deal ceases to restrict Iran’s nuclear behavior down the road. “There is no sunset clause in the JCPOA. Although the US administration and Trump are talking about [a] ‘sunset clause’ and that JCPOA is just for 10 years, that is not true,” he insisted. “Iran’s commitment in the JCPOA not to go for nuclear weapons is permanent.”

Araghchi rejected Trump’s demand to address other issues as part of the continued operation of the nuclear deal, including the country’s burgeoning ballistic missile program.

Such a linkage would mean that the countries that negotiated the JCPOA “not only will lose the JCPOA, but will make other issues more complicated and more difficult to resolve. If we lose the JCPOA, we will face another nuclear crisis,” he warned.

“For the Europeans or the world community, when we talk about maintaining the JCPOA and saving it, it’s not a choice between the Iranian or the US market, it’s not a choice for economic cooperation: it’s a choice between having security or insecurity,” he added.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-official-we-may-leave-nuclear-deal-if-banks-dont-come-to-iran/

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Saudi Arabia backs new UN move to condemn Iran

February 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir gives a speech during the Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2018 in Munich, southern Germany. (AFP)
MUNICH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday welcomed a draft United Nations resolution offered by Britain, the United States and France that would condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.
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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told Reuters the measure, if passed, would help hold Iran accountable for what he described as its “exports of ballistic missiles” to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and “radical and aggressive” behavior in the region, including support for terrorist groups.
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A proxy war is playing out in Yemen between Iran and US ally Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.
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“In order to ensure than Iran comports itself with international law, we must have firmer positions with regards to ballistic missiles and with regards to Iran’s support for terrorism,” Al-Jubeir said in an interview during the annual Munich Security Conference. “Iran must be held accountable.”
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He said Iranian missiles were regularly used by Houthis “to target civilians in Yemen as well as inside Saudi Arabia.”
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Al-Jubeir also called for changes to two aspects of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran — cancelation of a so-called sunset provision, and expanded inspections to include non-declared and military sites.
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The draft UN resolution, which needs to be adopted by Feb. 26, is likely to face resistance from Russia. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass.
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Al-Jubeir said he hoped Russia could be persuaded to support the measure.
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The draft text to renew UN sanctions on Yemen for another year would also allow the 15-member council to impose targeted sanctions for “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen.” Britain drafted the resolution in consultation with the United States and France before giving it to the full council on Friday, diplomats said.
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US President Donald Trump’s administration has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the United Nations, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program if “disastrous flaws” are not fixed.
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Independent UN experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that they had found missile remnants that are of Iranian origin, and “were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”
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The experts said they had “no evidence as to the identity of the supplier, or any intermediary third party” of the missiles fired by the Houthis into neighboring Saudi Arabia, but said Iran had violated sanctions by failing to prevent supply, sale or transfer of the missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

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Saudi Arabia welcomes push for U.N. action against Iran on missiles

February 18, 2018

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks during an interview with Reuters in Munich, Germany, February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski Reuters

Reuters

By Andrea Shalal

MUNICH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia on Sunday welcomed a draft United Nations resolution offered by Britain, the United States and France that would condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters the measure, if passed, would help hold Iran accountable for what he described as its “exports of ballistic missiles” to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and “radical and aggressive” behavior in the region, including support for terrorist groups.

A proxy war is playing out in Yemen between Iran and U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.

“In order to ensure than Iran comports itself with international law, we must have firmer positions with regards to ballistic missiles and with regards to Iran’s support for terrorism,” al-Jubeir said in an interview during the annual Munich Security Conference. “Iran must be held accountable.”

He said Iranian missiles were regularly used by Houthis “to target civilians in Yemen as well as inside Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Jubeir also called for changes to two aspects of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran – cancellation of a so-called sunset provision, and expanded inspections to include non-declared and military sites.

The draft U.N. resolution, which needs to be adopted by Feb. 26, is likely to face resistance from Russia. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass.

Al-Jubeir said he hoped Russia could be persuaded to support the measure.

The draft text to renew U.N. sanctions on Yemen for another year would also allow the 15-member council to impose targeted sanctions for “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen.” Britain drafted the resolution in consultation with the United States and France before giving it to the full council on Friday, diplomats said.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the United Nations, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program if “disastrous flaws” are not fixed.

Independent U.N. experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that they had found missile remnants that are of Iranian origin, and “were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”

The experts said they had “no evidence as to the identity of the supplier, or any intermediary third party” of the missiles fired by the Houthis into neighboring Saudi Arabia, but said Iran had violated sanctions by failing to prevent supply, sale or transfer of the missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Toby Chopra)