Saudi Arabia says ready to confront any Iran mischief

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir warned Iran Thursday to use the economic benefits of a new nuclear deal to help its people and not fund “adventures in the region.”

“If Iran should try to cause mischief in the region we’re committed to confront it resolutely,” Jubeir said after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, days after the landmark deal was struck granting Tehran sanctions relief in return for dismantling and mothballing most of its nuclear program.

Kerry will also head to the Gulf in Aug. 3 seeking to allay fears over the Iran nuclear deal. The Saudi minister said the meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council would take place in Doha.

Back at work only days after an 18-day negotiating marathon to seal the unprecedented accord, Kerry met al-Jubeir, the beginning of a charm offensive designed to win over the many doubters in the United States and abroad.

“All of us in the region want to see a peaceful resolution to Iran’s nuclear program,” Jubeir said after their talks.

He welcomed a deal with a “robust and continuous inspections regime to make sure Iran does not violate the terms of the agreement,” adding it should also have an effective and quick “snapback” mechanism that allows for sanctions to be quickly reimposed if Tehran violates Tuesday’s accord.

Under the deal, Iran will win relief from crippling sanctions in return for dismantling and mothballing much of its nuclear industry so it cannot quickly develop an atomic bomb.

“We hope 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,” Jubeir said.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with al-Jubeir at the
White House on Friday in his first meeting with a key ally following the Iran nuclear deal, a White House official said on Thursday.

The official said Obama and al-Jubeir would discuss the Iran accord among other things.

Iran stands accused of supporting the militia Houthi group in Yemen who overran the capital and parts of the country, forcing the Western-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh.

Saudi-led warplanes have been waging air strikes against the rebels since March, helping to force the militia into retreat with ministers from Hadi’s exiled government now preparing to visit the southern city of Aden to assess the damage.

Majority Sunni Gulf countries have remained wary of the U.S. overtures to arch-foe Iran, believing the nuclear deal will only embolden Tehran’s Shiite leaders.

(With Reuters and AFP)