Cooperation with GCC countries needed in new Iran deal: Saudi envoy to UN

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Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations said that a “fresh start” was needed on any new nuclear treaty with Iran, in cooperation with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

“At this point in time, the shortfalls [of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] outweigh the benefits,” Ambassador Abdullah Al Mouallimi said during a video conference with reporters.

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Calling out Iran for meddling in regional affairs, Al Mouallimi said the concerns of GCC countries need to be taken into account for in a new nuclear deal “because they are the ones who are most affected [by Iran’s behavior].”

The Saudi ambassador said the development of Iran’s ballistic missiles must be at the top of any new agenda. “This is not a region open for you [Iran] to meddle in,” he said, adding that Tehran needs to stay out of the affairs of sovereign states.

Recalling Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s Tuesday comments on the war in Yemen during a speech to the UN Security Council, Al Mouallimi said: “You can meddle in the affairs of Iran as much as you’d like, but you do not do that in sovereign states in the region.”

The Saudi ambassador also said that the Kingdom was looking to unite world powers, while “Iran is playing on the differences between world powers … and trying to take advantage of this.” Al Mouallimi was referring to a political dispute between the US and China, among other disagreements between the European Union and other countries.

The UNSC held a session on the Iran arms embargo set to expire in October. Washington has been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to extend the embargo indefinitely, citing Iran’s malign behavior in the region.

A UN report last month determined that several items in US seizures of weapons and related materiel in November 2019 and February 2020 were “of Iranian origin.”

While China and Russia have been against extending the arms embargo, Al Mouallimi has said they were “sympathetic” to Riyadh’s situation. But when it came to the proposal to extend the arms embargo on Iran, they “presumably had scores to settle with the United States.”

“We’re trying to separate the two issues in our discussions with them, which ... are open, are friendly discussions, are based on the good relations that we enjoy with both countries,” Al Mouallimi told a separate news conference Tuesday.

Read more: Saudi Arabia: International community needs ‘firm stance’ on Iran after UN report

World will understand need to extend Iran arms embargo: Mike Pompeo

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