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Withdrew to a nuclear resuscitation agreement, Saudi Arabia, UAE enters Iran

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which withdrew from the revival of a nuclear pact with Iran, which they have always opposed, are in dialogue with Tehran to limit tensions, while lobbying for future talks to take their security concerns.

The world powers have negotiated in Vienna with Iran and the United States to revive the 2015 agreement, under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting international sanctions.

The new US government of President Joe Biden wants to restore the agreement that Washington abandoned under its predecessor, Donald Trump. But Washington’s Gulf Allies have always said the deal was inadequate because it ignored other issues, such as Iran̵

7;s missile exports and support for regional proxy fighters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made it clear on Monday that Washington’s priority was to get the deal “back in the box” and then use it as a platform to address other issues.

But with Saudi Arabia involved in a costly war in Yemen and facing repeated missile and drone strikes on its oil infrastructure, as it blames Iran and its allies, the Gulf states say the broader issues must not be set aside.

“The Gulf states have said ‘fine the United States can go back to (the nuclear deal), this is their decision, we can not change it, but … we need everyone to take into account regional security concerns’,” Abdulaziz of the Gulf Research Center Cases that have been active in the previously unofficial dialogue between Saudi and Iran said this week.

Golf officials are concerned that they lack the same strength with the Biden administration that they had under Trump. They lobbied to take part in the Vienna talks, but were rejected.

Instead of waiting for the outcome in Vienna, Riyadh accepted Iraqi openings in April to host talks between Saudi and Iranian officials, said two sources familiar with the matter.


As the enemies whiz each other out, Riyadh has said they want to see “verifiable deeds.”

Iran has a number of cards, not least its support for the Houthi movement in Yemen, which the Saudis have not defeated after six years of war that exhausted Washington’s patience.

“Yemen is a cheap course for Iran and a very expensive course for Saudi Arabia. This gives Iran a strong negotiating position,” Sager said.

The United Arab Emirates, for its part, has already had regular contact with Iran and tried to decal, especially since tankers were attacked off the coast in 2019, a third regional source said.

The priority now for the Gulf states is to focus on their economies after COVID-19. But security guarantees are an important part of this recovery.

“A (nuclear) deal is better than no deal, but how can you convince the world – and investors – that this is a real deal that can stand the test of time?” told the third source to Reuters.

The Gulf states hope Washington maintains leverage over Tehran by maintaining some sanctions, including those designed to punish foreign actors for supporting terrorism or the proliferation of weapons.

Blinken told a hearing of the congressional committee that an agreement could be used “as a platform both to look at whether the agreement itself can be extended and, if necessary, strengthened, and also to capture” regional concerns.

The Gulf states remain skeptical. The UAE’s envoy to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba said in April that he saw no evidence that the nuclear deal would become “a tool where moderates are empowered” in Iran, which is holding presidential elections this month dominated by hardliners.

“But we have to live with them in peace,” Otaiba said. “We want no interference, no missiles, no proxies.”

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