Since the announcement of Joe Biden’s election as the next U.S. president, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states have remained silent with regards to the nuclear agreement with Iran. However, for the first time, a senior Saudi official has issued a warning to the president-elect not to repeat past mistakes with Iran.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of Saudi intelligence and former ambassador to Washington, spoke on November 17, 2020, at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in Washington D.C.
Delivering the keynote address,1 Prince Turki noted, “President-elect Joe Biden is not new to the world of diplomacy. He is an experienced statesman who is well-acquainted with the important problems in the region. However, we must wait and see the perception of his foreign policy and his actions.”2
The Prince, who is a close associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, continued: “Rejoining the nuclear agreement JCPOA as is would not do service to stability in our region. Rejoining and then negotiating the other important issues will trap diplomacy and subject it to Iranian blackmail.”
“Dragged negotiations are a part of the Iranian negotiating strategy,” Prince Faisal said. “Negotiating the JCPOA took years to be accomplished while Iran worked on its nuclear program. Mr. President-elect, do not repeat the mistakes and shortcomings of the first deal.”3
“Any non-comprehensive deal would not achieve permanent peace and security in our region,” he warned. “The nuclear agreement has not stopped Iran’s destructive behavior in our region, in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen, and in Lebanon, and in Saudi Arabia. As we saw in the direct attack on Saudi oil facilities, it is as much a threat as is the nuclear program. Therefore, there is a need for a new agreement that encompasses all issues of concern.”
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