Saudi Arabia “backs and welcomes the firm strategy on Iran and its aggressive policy” taken by the Trump administration.
Saudi Arabia joined Israel in supporting US President Donald Trump’s decertification of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, formally known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that King Salman called the US president on Saturday and praised the administration for recognizing the threat Iran posed to the region and for acting to stop it.
“The Kingdom backs and welcomes the firm strategy on Iran and its aggressive policy,” the SPA said in a statement.
This was remarkably similar to the words used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, when he said in an English-language video, “I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime.”
Netanyahu has denounced the Iranian nuclear deal to every world leader he has met over the last two years, warning that if the deal isn’t fixed, the Islamist regime will have nuclear weapons shortly after the sunset clauses in the JCPOA come into effect in just a few years’ time.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has for years accused its regional rival of “destabilizing” the Arab world. In the short term, what most worries the Kingdom is Iran’s critical backing of the Assad regime over the last six years of war in that country, and its support of the Houthis in Yemen, who have been fighting Saudi-backed government forces there since 2015.
The long-term danger is the deal’s lifting of international financial sanctions. The subsequent inflow of hundreds of millions of dollars has allowed Iran to advance the development of its long-range ballistic missile program and greatly increase its support of terrorist entities such as Hezbollah and other Shiite forces in the region.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain followed the Saudis in expressing their support as well for the new US policy. In the past, Bahrain has accused Iran of backing several outbreaks of unrest among its Shiite-majority population.