Arab Backing Undercuts Anti-Iran Pact Argument

Arab Backing Undercuts Anti-Iran Pact ArgumentArab Backing Undercuts Anti-Iran Pact Argument

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday the backing of Arab nations for the Iran nuclear deal undermines the argument made by US lawmakers and pro-Israel groups who oppose the accord on the grounds that it threatens the United States’ Middle East allies.

“It undercuts the argument because we have seen some who have made the case that this agreement would have a negative impact on the security situation on our partners in the Middle East,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Earnest as saying.

“The president (Barack Obama) does not agree at all with that assessment. In fact, he thinks it strengthens the national security considerations of our allies and partners in the Middle East. And we welcome the statement from leaders of those countries who indicate that they agree with the president’s conclusion.”

Persian Gulf Arab states publicly backed the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, giving the White House a potentially important diplomatic win as it seeks to build support for its signature foreign policy initiative.

The positive response from the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council -- composed of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain -- followed months of intense lobbying by the White House.

Secretary of State John Kerry held a daylong summit in Doha on Monday with the council’s foreign ministers to explain the terms of the agreement. The deal temporarily limits parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

“This was the best option amongst other options in order to try to come up with a solution” to Iran’s nuclear dispute, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah said at a news conference with Kerry at the end of meetings in the Qatari capital.

Qatar currently serves as chair of the (P)GCC. Obama was to meet with representatives of Jewish-American organizations on Tuesday. He is also scheduled to deliver a nationally televised speech today detailing his case in favor of the agreement.