Saudi Arabia, regional rival of Iran and longtime US ally, said it “supports and welcomes” President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“The kingdom supports and welcomes the steps announced by the US president towards withdrawing from the nuclear deal… and reinstating economic sanctions against Iran,” the foreign ministry said.
Riyadh’s allies in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, also issued statements via their foreign ministries in support of Trump’s decision, which has thrown a wrench between the United States, Europe and their allies in the region.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, strategically located between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Trump on Tuesday announced the US withdrawal from the “defective” multinational nuclear deal with Iran, as Washington moved to reinstate punishing sanctions against the Islamic republic.
After consulting with US “friends” across the Middle East, Trump said his country would “not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail”.
Following his address, the US leader signed a presidential memorandum to start reinstating US nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime.
Saudi Arabia accused Iran of “taking advantage of the revenue generated by the lifting of the sanctions to destabilise the region”, the foreign ministry said.
The Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom is locked in multiple proxy wars with its Shiite rival in the Middle East, including in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
Riyadh’s ambassador to the United States, and son of the Saudi Arabian king, on Tuesday did not hold back in linking the nuclear deal with his country’s interests across the region.
“Since deal was inked… the (Iranian) regime doubled down on its support for terror, providing dangerous weapons (such as ballistic missiles) to terrorist proxies including the Huthis in Yemen to target civilians in KSA,” or Saudi Arabia, tweeted Prince Khalid bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia and the United States say Iran is arming Yemeni rebels, known as the Huthis, who are fighting their country’s Riyadh-backed government.
The rebels have amped up missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the north, in recent months. – AFP