In his March 7, 2015 column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Tariq Al-Homayed, formerly editor of the newspaper, argued that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, aimed at reassuring the Saudis about the imminent U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement, not only failed to assuage but also revealed the deep disagreement between the two countries over the dangers of the agreement. Stressing that the inevitable response to an Iranian nuclear bomb will be an Arab nuclear bomb, Al-Homayed notes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's argument that as it negotiates with the West, Iran is at the same time consolidating its control in Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Sanaa is correct, and warns that the countries of the region could fall "victim to the na├»vet├® of a few people in Washington" because President Obama is not aware of the gravity of his actions, which are leading the entire region into genuine disaster.
Below is a translation of the column:
"A study of the Saudi declarations voiced by [Saudi] Foreign Minister Emir [Sa'ud] Al-Faisal and of declarations by his American colleague John Kerry on the Iranian issue shows that the gap between the Gulf states and the U.S. on the Iranian nuclear issue is huge. Emir Sa'ud Al-Faisal's statements to his American colleague regarding Iran's game in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria were clear and explicit, particularly with regard to its [Iran's] involvement in the fighting against ISIS in Tikrit, about which Faisal said: 'Tikrit is a clear example about what worries us. Iran is on the way to getting its hands on the country, that is, on Iraq.'
"The U.S. Secretary of State's statements in Riyadh were unpersuasive and not reassuring. The weakness of the American stance was apparent when Kerry said: 'We are not seeking a grand bargain [with Iran]... Nothing will be different the day after this agreement, if we reach one, with respect to any other issues that challenge us in this region.'. Furthermore, Kerry recognized the negative role that Iran is playing in the region as it sponsors terror.
"The question, therefore, is what message of reassurance could the American secretary convey to his colleagues in the Gulf States and in Riyadh?
"The truth is that the joint press conference of the Saudi Foreign Minister and his American colleague completely exposed the differences between them, as well as the extent of the predicament into which the American administration has been thrust following the speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Congress regarding the implicit danger of the agreement that is about to be signed with Iran. Kerry's statements are an attempt to respond to Netanyahu's words - which reflect reality: Namely, that as Iran is conducting negotiations with the U.S. and with the West, it is [at the same time] consolidating its conquests in four Arab capitals - Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Sanaa. If this is the case, what will the situation be after an agreement with the United States is reached?
"What is currently clear is [one of two things]: Either the American president is striving to attain personal glory, the outcome of which cannot be assessed, or he does not comprehend the implicit of his actions - [this is] a possibility that is closer to reality. The truth is that a bad agreement with Iran is a disaster, and constitutes international recognition of Iran's occupation of the countries of the region and confers international approval for Iran's sponsorship of terror. Therefore, the region is facing a real disaster and we do not know how matters will develop until the term of office of President Obama, who is leading the entire region into real disaster, expires.
"It is inconceivable that there will be a nuclear Iran in the region but the rest of the countries of the region stand by. The response to the existence of an Iranian bomb will undoubtedly be an Arab nuclear bomb. If this does not happen, our countries will appear to welcome the Iranian game, and will fall victim to the na├»vet├® of a few people in Washington.
"Thus, Kerry's Riyadh visit is worrisome and not reassuring, and all the relevant countries in the region must consider every possible option as available to them in order to respond to this absurd American step that can release the [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini genie - which will bring nothing to the region but destruction and civil war."