Riyadh: Arab Countries Must Be Included In New Nuclear Deal With Iran
If the US is to revive the Iran nuclear deal, Arab countries of the region must be consulted, said the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Saturday.
During the Manama Security Conference in Bahrain, Bin Farhan told AFP: “Primarily what we expect is that we are fully consulted, that we and our other regional friends are fully consulted in what goes on vis a vis the negotiations with Iran."
The nuclear accord also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran and six world powers in 2015, but three years later, President Trump pulled the US out of the accord, calling it “the worst deal in history”.
The Saudi Foreign Minister emphasized: “The only way towards reaching an agreement that is sustainable is through such consultation."
"I think we've seen as a result of the after-effects of the JCPOA that not involving the regional countries results in a build-up of mistrust and neglect of the issues of real concern and of real effect on regional security," Bin Farhan added.
When asked whether or not the Biden team has reached out to him to discuss a new agreement with Iran, he said he has not received any communications yet, adding: “We are ready to engage with the Biden administration once they take office."
He continued: “We are confident that both an incoming Biden administration, but also our other partners, including the Europeans, have fully signed on to the need to have all the regional parties involved in a resolution."
Previously, after Biden’s victory in the election, the Saudi foreign minister had called for a broader agreement with Iran.
Bin Farhan’s comments come a day after his German counterpart emphasized that returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is no longer enough and a new and broader nuclear deal must be reached, one that would also include the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program.
Heiko Maas, whose country currently holds the presidency of the European Union, told Spiegel magazine: “A form of 'nuclear agreement plus' is needed, which also lies in our interest."
“We have clear expectations for Iran: no nuclear weapons, but also no ballistic rocket program which threatens the whole region,” Maas added.
Taking a more aggressive tone than ever before, Maas said Germany is in agreement with France and UK on Iran and declared: “Iran must also play another role in the region. We need this accord because we distrust Iran."
The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif has repeatedly said Iran will not negotiate over an agreement that it has negotiated before.