Future Iran deal must go beyond nuclear and include regional misbehavior: Saudi FM

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. (AFP)

Any new deal with Iran needs to go beyond the nuclear program and address Tehran’s regional malign activity, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said on Sunday.

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“We believe that the issue isn’t just with the nuclear program…the issue with Iran is the fact that it continues to believe in imposing its will on the region, on exporting its revolution to its neighbors and beyond,” said Al Saud in an interview with CNBC.

“We need to address that. I like to call what we see in the future as JCPOA++, something that addresses the nuclear program, which is critically important of course, but also that addresses the regional malign activity,” he added.

Hezbollah supporters shout slogans and wave Lebanese, Hezbollah and Iran flags, during a rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution, in southern Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (AP)

Hezbollah supporters shout slogans and wave Lebanese, Hezbollah and Iran flags, during a rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution, in southern Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (AP)

Iran supports proxy groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and other countries in the Middle East, which have carried out attacks on Saudi and Western targets.

‘Deepest concern’

Iran reneged on the promises it made as part of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), since President Hassan Rouhani announced in May 2019 that Tehran would reduce compliance.

Iran subsequently breached JCPOA limits on uranium enrichment, research and development on advanced centrifuges, and stockpile size.

Al Saud said that Saudi Arabia’s “deepest concern” is that Iran has now “blown well past the restrictions of the JCPOA,” thus proving how easy it is for the Iranian regime to move forward with their nuclear program.

In this April 9, 2009 file picture Iranian technicians work at a new facility producing uranium fuel for a planned heavy-water nuclear reactor, just outside the city of Isfahan, 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran. (AP)

In this April 9, 2009 file picture Iranian technicians work at a new facility producing uranium fuel for a planned heavy-water nuclear reactor, just outside the city of Isfahan, 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran. (AP)

Under President Donald Trump, the US officially withdrew from the Obama-era JCPOA in 2018, and imposed a “maximum pressure” campaign on the Iranian regime through increasing economic sanctions.

The “significant pressure on Iran” has limited its ability to interfere in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, according to Al Saud.

“I think this lays the groundwork for the future to make sure that we are able to engage with the Iranians eventually in a way that forces them to address the full gamut of concerns,” he said.

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Last Update: Sunday, 22 November 2020 KSA 19:19 - GMT 16:19
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