Saudi Arabia backs deal to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon
Saudi Arabia is supportive of a nuclear agreement that prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and one that ensures sanctions will be quickly snapped back if it is violated, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said at a press conference with Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, DC.
"We all look forward to an agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear capability, that has a robust and continuous inspections regime to make sure that Iran does not violate the terms of the agreement, and that has an effective and quick snapback provision that allows the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran should it violate the terms of that agreement," Al-Jubeir said on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia has been hesitant to support a nuclear deal between its regional rival Iran and international powers as US officials lobby regional allies to support the agreement reached on Tuesday.
Under the terms of the agreement, Iran agreed to 15-year limits on its uranium enrichment and stockpiles, in addition to pledging not to build additional heavy water reactors or produce weapons grade plutonium.
Tehran is also to be the subject to extensive and unprecedented International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring for 25 years.
In return, the agreement stipulates that banking, oil and gas sanctions imposed on Iran related to its nuclear weapons program will be lifted.
The sides also agreed to retain a five-year UN arms embargo and eight-year missile embargo on Iran, as well as a snapback mechanism of sanctions in the event of non-compliance.
Nearly $100 billion of Iran's money frozen as part of sanctions could be released once six international powers and the IAEA verify Tehran is abiding by the agreement.
Saudi Arabia and Sunni Arab states have voiced concerns that sanctions relief could embolden Iran in the region, including Iran's funding of Hezbollah, as well as Syria and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia hopes that "the Iranians will use this deal in order to improve the economic situation in Iran and to improve the lot of the Iranian people, and not use it for adventures in the region."
"We are committed that if Iran should try to cause mischief in the region, we are committed to confront it resolutely," he added.
Trying to drum up support for the Iran deal, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said Iran would likely spend unfrozen assets at home but could ramp up support for regional proxies.