Ben Rhodes speaks to Al Arabiya on King Salman’s visit
Both Washington and Riyadh would like to see an end to Syria’s brutal civil war and see leader Bashar Assad pushed from power
In an interview with Al Arabiya, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor said that the important King Salman’s visit at an important time with the many developments in the region where we have a shared interest with Saudi Arabia and with the recent conclusion of the Iran deal."
He added "the nuclear deal is one specific issue. I think that what we’ve always acknowledged is a country like Saudi Arabia, or other Gulf States, other countries in the region, are concerned about what Iran might do with additional sanctions relief. If Iran’s economy improves, are they going to be more belligerent in their activity’s in the neighborhood? And we want assure these countries that even as e are implementing the nuclear deal, we’re going to be able to work cooperatively, to address wheat we are very concerned about."
He said "When you look at a situation like Yemen, you’re had Iranian support for the Houthis. If you look in Iraq, we want make sure that any Iranian influence in Iraq does not contribute to splitting the country apart. But rather, we are all pushing in support of the Abadi government and holding the country together. In Syria of course, you’ve had continuous support for the Assad regime, which we believe is an obstacle to the peace and stability the people Syria deserve. So, what we’re signaling very strongly is just because we’re doing this nuclear deal does not mean there’s a broader alignment with Iran. The nuclear deal is meant to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. At the same time, we’re going to continue to have differences with many aspects of Iranian policies in the region.”