Riyadh denies Israeli joint-strike claims
A recent Sunday Times report was rejected by the Saudi Foreign Ministry
Saudi Arabia on Monday denied a report by a British newspaper that it was preparing a contingency plan with Israel for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied categorically the accuracy of the [Sunday Times] article, as well as, the existence of any kind of relations with Israel at any level,” the official Saudi News Agency reported.
The Sunday Times reported that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use its airspace to attack Iran, including the two countries collaborating over the use of rescue helicopters, tanker plans and drones.
The newspaper has also cited an anonymous diplomatic source saying that “the Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs.”
Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have expressed their disdain over six world powers easing economic sanctions on Iran if the Islamic republic suspends parts of its nuclear program.
Iran and the P5+1 group of nations begin a new round of talks at Geneva on Wednesday, after the two sides failed to clinch a deal in high-level, marathon negotiations earlier this month.
Like Saudi Arabia and Israel, France said it will not tolerate nuclear proliferation.
During French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Israel on Sunday, the leader promised to keep his country’s hardline stance in the upcoming nuclear talks.
Hollande presented four demands to be in place for an agreement with Iran to successfully rein in its nuclear program.
However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday warned against “excessive demands” by world powers at the nuclear talks, Agence France-Presse reported an official website as saying.
“At the recent Geneva talks good progress was made, but everyone must realize excessive demands could complicate the process towards a win-win agreement,” Iranian news website Dolat quoted Rowhani as telling Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“From our point of view, there should not be a situation in which the will of parties to reach mutually acceptable agreement is affected,” the website quoted Rouhani as telling Putin by phone.
He “thanked Russia for its position in Geneva” and stressed that Iran’s nuclear drive is “peaceful and under the control” of the U.N. atomic agency.