Israel and Saudi Arabia Present United Front over Iran DealPosted: July 14, 2015
Iran’s enemies unsettled by its deal with the West, but Bashar al-Assad of Syria says it is ‘a great victory’
Most telling was the loudest expression of support. “I am happy that the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a great victory by reaching an agreement,” President Bashar al-Assad of Syria said in a message to his Iranian opposite number, Hassan Rouhani.
“In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.”
Israel and the Sunni Arab world have set aside old grievances to stand together against the West’s engagement with Iran.
The more strident denunciations came from Israel, which regards Iran as a direct threat. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, said the country would not be bound by what he called a “stunning historic mistake”.
“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran,” he said in a televised address hours after the conclusion of the accord. “Iran continues to seek our destruction and we will defend ourselves.”
Mr Netanyahu, who had condemned the deal even before it had been announced, said its terms failed to achieve the goal of denying Iran the capacity to build a nuclear bomb while, by lifting sanctions, enabled its theocratic rulers to increase their support for groups Israel considers terrorists.
“The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly as Iran’s President Rouhani said today – the international community is removing the sanctions and Iran is keeping its nuclear programme,” he said.
Saudi Arabia regards Shia Iran as a competitor for leadership in the Muslim world, and sees its hand behind many of the region’s conflicts. The two are supporting opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen, while Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies fear Iran’s influence among their own Shia populations.
Saudi officials have previously voiced fears that increasing rapprochement between Washington and Tehran could eventually lead to Iran….(read more)
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