Monday, 13 January, 2020

Saudi minister welcomes Trump’s stance on Iran

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday he was positive about the way the incoming U.S. administration wanted to restore American influence in the world, contain Iran and fight Islamic State, Reuters reported.

“We are optimistic about the incoming administration and look forward to working with it in all areas that are a concern for both of us,” Jubeir told reporters in Paris.

“We will look at the Trump administration’s view as articulated. Wanting to restore America’s role in the world, we welcome this. Wanting to defeat ISIS (Islamic State), absolutely. Wanting to contain Iran … absolutely.”

When asked specifically about Riyadh’s relationship with Iran and whether there could be a détente between them, Jubeir accused Tehran of destabilizing the region.

According to Reuters, relations between the two worsened after hundreds of people, many of them Iranians, died in a crush at the 2015 Muslim haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Iran blamed the disaster on organizers’ incompetence and boycotted last year’s haj. Ties worsened further when Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia executed a Shi’ite cleric a year ago.

“Our relationship with Iran is tense and it’s in function of its aggressive and hostile policies. It would be wonderful to live in peace and harmony with Iran, but it takes two to tango,” Jubeir said, speaking in English.

“We can’t be subject to death and destruction and expect to turn the other cheek. We tried, but it didn’t work.”

An earlier report by The National Interest said that many Saudis hope U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes a tougher line on Iran.

According to the report, Trump’s business and personal ties with the kingdom make many Saudis optimistic that Trump shares their hostile view of Iran.

Trump, whose administration will include multiple critics of the Islamic Republic, has been doing business with Saudi royals for decades. Trump created eight new companies in Saudi Arabia after the launch of his presidential campaign last year, according to the Washington Post.

Trump’s administration is also likely to include many long-time friends of Saudi Arabia. Former United Nations permanent representative John Bolton and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich are both expected to play major advisory roles.

Despite all these issues, however, Saudi authorities apparently are concerned that Trump does tend to Iran rather than Kingdom, analysts say.

The Saudi government currently has strong ties with President Obama, but it is not clear that Trump also follow a similar path towards Saudi Arabia.

So,  from now, Saudis are struggling to pretend that Trump is a good option for them so that make public opinion in their favor.

Further, trump is a businessman who will likely tend to the currently dominant power in the region which is Iran not Saudi Arabia.

Photo: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir arrives for the opening of the Mideast peace conference in Paris,France, January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Samson/POOL

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