Saudis 'Lied To' by US, Pursue Independent Policy
Despite initial positive statements by Saudi Arabia on the Iran nuclear deal reached Sunday in Geneva, a senior advisor to the Saudi royal family said that his country was deceived by its American ally in the agreements and will pursue an independent foreign policy in response.
The advisor, Nawaf Obaid, told a think tank meeting in London "we were lied to, things were hidden from us. The problem is not with the deal that was struck in Geneva but how it was done," reports The Telegraph.
On Sunday, just after the deal which gave Iran around $7 billion in sanctions relief in return for promises to enrich uranium at lower levels, among other things, revelations showed that US President Barack Obama's administration had been holding secret negotiations with Iran for the past 6 months.
The report detailing the secret negotiations added that the talks were kept hidden even from America's allies until recently.
Obaid said Saudi Arabia knew about the secret talks with Iran, which occurred through a channel in Oman, but was not directly briefed by the US.
The Saudi call for independent policy comes after an interview appeared last Friday in which Saudi Arabia’s UK ambassador, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, said his country would not "sit idly by" if the West failed to stop Iran's nuclear program.
Israeli leaders have similarly expressed strong criticism of the Iran deal and left the option of a military strike open. While the security interests of the two nations seem to be aligned on this issue, Saudi Arabia denied reports of diplomatic contact with Israel - which the Gulf state does not officially recognize - leading to cooperation on a possible strike.
As for the shape Saudi independent policy may take as the nation's US ties grow tense, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Saudi King Abdullah earlier in the month, perhaps signalling a shift towards alignment with the Russians.
Russia just recently sealed a $4 billion arms deal with longtime US ally Egypt, designed to provide Egypt with parity to the IDF. That deal will reportedly be partially funded by oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, it has been reported in the past that Saudi Arabia could acquire a nuclear weapon quickly from Pakistan if it felt pressed to do so by Iran's nuclear program.