print
memri
May 9, 2018 No.
7462

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt Welcome President Trump's Withdrawal From JCPOA

U.S. President Donald Trump's May 8, 2018 announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and its reinstatement of the harsh sanctions against Iran won broad support from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Saudi Arabia officially stated that it welcomed the announcement, calling it vital in light of the flaws inherent in the agreement and in light of Iran's taking advantage of it to develop its ballistic missile program and to support terror organizations in the Middle East. The Saudi announcement also expressed hope that the international community would take a similar firm position vis-à-vis Iran.

Saudi officials, among them Foreign Minister 'Adel Al-Jubeir and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Khaled bin Salman, tweeted similar sentiments, and the Saudi press published numerous articles and cartoons on the subject.

Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain also released announcements expressing their support for Trump's decision to leave the JCPOA, and pointed out the flaws in the agreement.

This report will review the reactions of support for President Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA:

Saudi Al-Riyadh Editorial: Trump's Decision Is An Historic Event; Iran Must Give Up Its Aggressive Path

The Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh's May 9, 2018 editorial, titled "Washington Has Had Its Say," stated: "The announcement by the American president Donald Trump of his country's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is an important historic event on the international level. Following this announcement, the agreement... became in effect a thing of the past, with the most important country's and largest superpower's withdrawal from it.

"Trump's statements will go down in history. They have many assertive messages to Iran and its supporters, and even to the U.S.'s European allies, [clarifying that] the U.S. will in no way agree to ambiguous positions and will act forcefully to prevent the Iranian regime from taking advantage of this agreement in order to realize its dream of obtaining nuclear weapons that will threaten the region and the entire world...

"Washington has had its say, and this means the reinstatement of the sanctions connected to Iran's nuclear program, that were lifted by the previous U.S. president, Barack Obama, following the international community's catastrophic mistake of trusting the regime of the ayatollahs.

"Although Iran and other elements that benefit from the P5+1 group's mistake [i.e. the JCPOA] are downplaying the value of Trump's announcement, this battle is over, and if Iran is really interested in returning to the international community, it must change its behavior and give up its aggressive path, which is manifested in striving to obtain weapons of mass destruction..."[1]

Saudi Arabia Welcomes Trump's Announcement, Expresses Wish That The International Community Would Uniformly Take A Similar Stand vis-à-vis Iran

A short time after President Trump's announcement, Saudi Arabia released an official announcement welcoming it, that stated: "Saudi Arabia supports and welcomes the steps announced by President Donald Trump regarding the U.S.'s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and supports the announcement of the reinstatement of the economic sanctions on Iran, that had been lifted in accordance with the nuclear agreement. Saudi Arabia's previous support for the nuclear agreement was based on full belief in the need to act in any way possible to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and in the world. But Iran took advantage of the economic benefit [it gained] from the lifting of the sanctions in order to continue its activity to destabilize the region, particularly by developing ballistic missiles and by supporting terror organizations in the region – including Hizbullah [in Lebanon] and the Houthi militias [in Yemen] that use capabilities provided by Iran to harm the citizens of Saudi Arabia and Yemen and to repeatedly block international seaways, thus grossly violating [UN] Security Council resolutions...

"Saudi Arabia hopes that the international community will take a firm and uniform stand vis-à-vis Iran and its hostile activities, which destabilize the region; vis-à-vis its support for terror organizations, particularly Hizbullah and the Houthi militia; and vis-à-vis its support for the regime of [Syrian President Bashar Al-]Assad, that has committed the most loathsome crimes against its own people, leading to the deaths of over half a million civilians, including by means of chemical weapons.

"Based on all this, Saudi Arabia stresses that it will continue to act together with its partners in the U.S. and the international community to achieve the longed-for goals, as declared by the U.S. president. The Iranian policy's threat to the peace and security of the world must be tackled with a comprehensive outlook that is not limited to its nuclear program, but includes all its aggressive activity, particularly its interference in the affairs of the countries in the region and its support for terrorism. [This must be dealt with in a way that] will completely prevent Iran from being able to possess weapons of mass destruction."[2]

Saudi Newspapers Report President Trump's Announcement On Front Pages

Saudi newspapers gave top billing to reports about President Trump's announcement. The May 9, 2018 front page of the Al-Jazirah daily declared "Trump Neutralizes the Nuclear [Deal]."

Likewise, the May 9, 2018 front page of Al-Riyadh stated: "Trump Announces The Lie of the Nuclear Deal."

Saudi Foreign Minister: "We Will Continue To Act Together With Our Partners To Deal With Threat Of Iran's Hostile Policy"

On May 8, 2018, Saudi Foreign Minister 'Adel Al-Jubeir tweeted: "We support the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and the decision to reinstate the economic sanctions on Iran. We will continue to act together with our partners to deal with the threat of Iran's hostile policy. Iran took advantage of the lifting of the sanctions [under the agreement] in order to step up its destabilization of the region and its support for terror organizations in our region, including Hizbullah and the Houthi militias."[3]

Saudi Ambassador To The U.S.: Any Future Agreement With Iran Must Include Its Missile Project And Its Support For Terrorism

Shortly after President Trump's announcement, Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Khaled bin Salman responded with a series of tweets stating, inter alia: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fully supports the measures taken by @ POTUS with regards to the JCPOA. We always had reservations with regards to sunset clauses, ballistic missiles program, and Iran's support for terrorism in the region. As I said before with regards to the deal, we are on auto pilot heading towards a mountain. Deal has fueled Iran's malicious expansion driven by its extremist ideology. It provided Iran with a financial windfall that it used to further sectarian strife/chaos in the region. Since deal was inked, instead of behaving like a responsible member of the int'l community, the regime doubled down on its support for terror, providing dangerous weapons (such as ballistic missiles) to terrorist proxies including the Houthis in Yemen to target civilians in KSA. KSA always believed that the int'l community cannot address Iran's pursuit of WMD without addressing the mass destruction Iran is inflecting on the region. Any future deal must address Iran's ballistic missile program, and its increasing financial/military support for terrorism."[4]


Cartoon in Saudi Sabq daily: The U.S. pulls the "nuclear agreement" out from under Iran (Source: Sabq.org, May 8, 2018)


Cartoon In Saudi 'Okaz daily: Iran is blowing itself up with its disintegrating nuclear program (Source: 'Okaz, Saudi Arabia, May 9, 2018)

Egyptian Foreign Ministry: Egypt Appreciates The U.S. Position; Iran Must Stop Harming The Security Of The Arab Region

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry announcement welcomed the U.S.'s commitment to concern for the region and to preventing Iranian interference in the affairs of Arab countries. It stated: "Egypt has been following with great interest the American decision regarding withdrawing from the agreement between the six countries and Iran on the matter of Iran's nuclear program. Egypt appreciates the American and international aspiration to tackle all the regional and international concerns connected to the nuclear agreement with Iran and to Iran's interference in the domestic affairs of the Arab countries. Accordingly, it stresses that Iran must meet its obligations in accordance with the agreement on nuclear weapons nonproliferation and the agreements of guarantees, including with the IAEA[5]...

"Egypt stresses that it is important that the relevant Arab elements participate in every dialogue about the future situation of the region, particularly in dialogue linked to the possibility of changes in the nuclear agreement with Iran. Egypt demands, in this context of all the regional forces including Iran, that there will be no more adoption of policies or taking of steps that harm the security of the Arab region. Egypt hopes that the current developments will not lead to the outbreak of armed struggles in the region that will threaten its stability and its security."[6]

UAE: Absolute Support For The U.S. Decision; The U.S.'s Withdrawal From The Agreement Is The Rectification Of A Flawed Situation

On May 9, the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced that it supported President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and called on "the international community and the countries that are partner to the nuclear agreement to agree with Trump's position for the removal of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction from the region, in order to preserve international security and stability."[7]

In its May 9 editorial, the UAE Al-Ittihad daily noted: "The U.S.'s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and President Trump's declaration that he will reinstate the harshest sanctions on Tehran is the rectification of a situation that was wrong from the outset, and it brings things back to square one. This agreement was actually commercial deal, or a deal of interests, not an agreement of principles and values. Since the deal was signed, Iran [feels that] it has received a green light for its attempts to force its hegemony on the region, and to give its terror militias a free hand to sow destruction in several Arab countries. Likewise, it took rapid steps to develop its ballistic missile program. This flawed deal focuses on Iran's hypothetical nuclear capability, while ignoring its actual capabilities – that is, ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction, and Tehran's clear support for the terror organizations and for the Houthi gangs in Yemen..."[8]

Bahrain: U.S. Withdrawal From JCPOA Proves Its Commitment To Acting Against Iranian Terrorism

Bahrain too announced its support for Trump's withdrawal from the JCOPA and his reinstatement of tighter sanctions on the Iranian regime. In an announcement, it stressed its "full support for this decision, that reflects the U.S.'s commitment to stand up against the Iran's policy and its ongoing attempts to export terrorism in the region without a minimum of commitment [on Iran's part] to laws and international norms." It added that the U.S.'s withdrawal from the agreement "proves that this agreement had many flaws, the most important of which was its disregard of [Iran's] ballistic missile [development] project and of the threat it poses to the security and stability of the region with its interference in the domestic affairs of the countries of the region and with its support for terrorist militias [operating] in these countries and subordinate to it."

The Bahrain announcement went on to call on "all the other countries that signed the agreement to responsibly reexamine the [state of the] security and peace in the region and to take steps like those of the U.S."

Also stressed in the announcement was Bahrain's support "for all the efforts to remove nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and to fight the funding and support provided by Iran to the extremist militias in the region..."[9]

Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General: Trump's Decision To Withdraw From The Agreement Is A Bold Move

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary-general Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani also welcomed President Trump's announcement. He said that Trump had taken "a bold stand out of a desire to ensure that the Middle East will be free of nuclear weapons. [He has done so] in response to the hostile policy of Iran in the region, which is based on expansion, control, interference in the domestic affairs of the countries of the region, support for terror organizations, and continued development of its ballistic missile project..."

Al-Zayani went on to call on the international community to take a position similar to that of the U.S. in order to preserve international peace and security.[10]

 

[1] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), May 9, 2018. It should be noted that the editorial appeared only in the newspaper's online version.

[2] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), May 9, 2018.

[3] Twitter.com/AdelAljubeir, May 8, 2018.

[4] Twitter.com/kbsalsaud, May 8, 2018.

[5] A reference to the roadmap signed by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran head Ali Akbar Salehi and IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano, under which Iran agreed to provide the IAEA with clarifications and explanations about the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its nuclear project. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6113, Atomic Energy Organization Of Iran Chief Ali Akbar Salehi: We Have Reached An Understanding With The IAEA On The PMD, Now Political Backing Exists And The Results Will Be Very Positive, July 22, 2015.

[6] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 9, 2018.

[7] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), May 9, 2018.

[8] Al-Ittihad (UAE), May 9, 2018.

[9] Akhbar Al-Khaleej (Bahrain), May 9, 2018.

[10] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), May 9, 2018.