Saudi Arabia: Deal with Iran needs to preserve non-proliferation

Saudi Arabia says any nuclear deal with Iran has to continue efforts aimed at making the Middle East free of mass destruction weapons.

Elad Benari ,

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that any nuclear deal with Iran has to preserve non-proliferation and continue efforts aimed at making the Middle East a zone free of mass destruction weapons, Reuters reported, citing state news agency SPA.

The agreement “has to address Iran’s destabilizing behaviors and its sponsorship of terrorism in the region to prevent it from any provocative actions in the future” it said in a statement issued after a weekly cabinet meeting.

The statement comes a day after the Trump administration announced an executive order and new sanctions against Iran aimed at enforcing United Nations sanctions.

The sanctions put in place a new arms embargo on Iran to replace a UN ban set to expire in October. Administration officials say it is an indefinite ban on weapons sales and allows for sanctions on any international companies or individuals that seek to violate the embargo.

Last month, Washington started the process of restoring all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran. The move to activate the “snapback” came after the UN Security Council rejected the US resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire in October.

However, the president of the UN Security Council rejected the US demand, saying there was no general agreement among council members.

The "snapback" move is part of a 2015 Security Council resolution which allows any participant in a nuclear accord with Iran negotiated under former President Barack Obama to reimpose sanctions, which would take effect one month afterward.

President Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Saudi Arabia has its own nuclear ambitions, but has promised that its nuclear program will be used to supply domestic electricity, enabling the country to export more of its oil.

However, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned in 2018 that "without a doubt" if Iran develops nuclear weapons, "we will follow suit as soon as possible."

Last year, the US approved the sale of nuclear technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia.

Israel has requested that the Americans remove all the nuclear fuel used from Saudi Arabia so that it would not be reprocessed.