Riyadh, Washington and the Iran confrontation

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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Things are speeding up in Europe, before Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince meets President Trump the day after tomorrow. Focus will be on arriving at a method that appears to restrain Iran, while in fact it aims to stop the US’s attempt to abort the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Tillerson’s departure from the US State Department, and the arrival of Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Washington a week later, enhances the Europeans’ fear that Washington intends to impose sanctions on Iran that might lead to the end of the agreement.

The JCPOA agreement, which was signed in 2015 by the P5+1 group with Iran, is the reason behind the chaos we are seeing today. In return for freezing a part of the nuclear enrichment, Iran managed to get the sanctions removed. That’s why its military activities have increased in the region and it has also developed its ballistic missile system which has the capacity to carry and launch nuclear weapons.

Tillerson’s departure from the US State Department, and the arrival of Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Washington, enhances the Europeans’ fear that Washington intends to impose sanctions on Iran

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Since then, it is obvious that this agreement has caused more chaos, wars and increased the regime’s boldness and its domination inside and outside Iran. This comes contrary to what the west had believed: That Tehran would abandon its aggressive policy and would turn to peace and development.

Since Trump became the US president, the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the announcement of both men that they would confront Iran regionally, the agreement now has no major significance. All of Europe can continue to cooperate with the Supreme Leader in Tehran, but Washington holds the determining decision.

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The agreement is not the issue, but the Iranian regime is. The US fights in Syria and Iraq because of the Iranian incursion and Saudi Arabia is fighting in Yemen to defend itself and to rescue Yemen from the Iranian-backed coup.

Abolishing the agreement

And Europe, which avoids confrontation no matter what the danger caused is, finally realized that Trump and his allies in the region intend to abolish the agreement; that’s why it tries to satisfy both parties by presenting a new project that restrains Iran from developing ballistic missiles and puts an end to its actions in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

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Europe’s plan, which was leaked to Reuters, threatens to impose sanctions on the involved names. It looks weak and staged. All those involved from the leaders of the Revolutionary Guards, the army, and the Iranian intelligence, do not even live in the West and would not be impacted by any sanctions.

The demands that Europe rejects are to impose economic sanctions on Iran and Hezbollah and to support the forces that confront it, so that it would lose a lot when it interferes or occupies. Without series actions to restrain the regime, it will not regress.

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It is important to remember that Iran agreed to negotiate and reach an agreement prior because of the economic sanctions which made it face the danger of collapse. Thus it had to ask for negotiations and present the idea of suspending its nuclear project even though earlier it used to maintain that talking about it or negotiating it is detrimental to its sovereignty. At the end it accepted, negotiated and signed, but the western negotiators made a hurried and distorted project.

Trump and Prince Mohammed bin Salman aim to amend the agreement, not to abolish it. They intend to end 40 years of chaos and financing of armed militias in the region. Thus the agreement would not be limited to controlling part of the nuclear enrichment, but rather to stop spreading violence and chaos and end the state of war in the region.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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