Saturday, September 18, 2021

Trump, Saudi king agree to rigorously enforce Iran nuclear pact

Washington, Jan 29 (EFE).- President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman agreed Sunday in a telephone conversation to “rigorously” enforce the nuclear pact with Iran.

Trump and the monarch agreed on the “importance of rigorously enforcing the (nuclear deal) with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities,” the White House said in a statement.

During the election campaign, Trump criticized the nuclear pact reached in July 2015 among Tehran and six great powers – the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany – calling it a “disaster.”

However, the US statement about Iran suggests that the president may be giving in to requests by virtually all supporters – and many critics – of the pact not to discard it.

The deal whereby Iran agreed to halt any program it may have had to develop nuclear weapons was one of former President Barack Obama’s most notable foreign policy successes, and before he left office earlier this month he warned against attempting to cancel the pact.

Saudi Arabia, just like other Sunni monarchies on the Persian Gulf, rejected the pact with Iran, which is Shiite and with which Riyadh is competing for hegemony in the region.

Meanwhile, Trump and Salman also agreed to create safe zones in Syria and Yemen to help refugees displaced by the ongoing armed conflicts there.

The president “requested, and the king agreed to support, safe zones in Syria and Yemen, as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts,” the White House said.

King Salman also invited Trump to “lead a Middle East effort to defeat terrorism and to help build a new future, economically and socially, for the people of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region,” although officials did not make clear precisely what that might entail.

The White House did not say whether the two leaders discussed the controversial executive order Trump signed last Friday to temporarily ban refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations – not including Saudi Arabia – from entry into the United States.

Saudi Arabia is one of the members of the US-led international coalition to fight the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

The Saudi kingdom is heading another military coalition in Yemen, where conflict erupted when Shiite rebels in September 2014 occupied the capital and other provinces after the Yemeni government fled to the southern city of Aden.

The war intensified in March 2015 when the coalition comprised of Sunni nations and backed by Washington directly intervened in the conflict on behalf of forces loyal to President Abdo Rabu Mansur Hadi, who is recognized by the international community but is currently in exile in Riyadh.