Trump Backs “Rigorous” Enforcement of Nuclear Accord

Trump Backs “Rigorous” Enforcement of Nuclear Accord  (Photo: AP)Trump Backs “Rigorous” Enforcement of Nuclear Accord  (Photo: AP)

US President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman want to "rigorously" enforce the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the White House said on Sunday, despite the US leader's long opposition to the agreement.

The pair, in a phone conversation, also spoke of the need to address Iran's alleged "destabilizing regional activities", fight the spread of terrorism and establish safe zones in war-ravaged Syria and Yemen, the White House statement read, AFP reported.

No further details were provided about those plans.

The official Saudi Press Agency early on Monday confirmed that Trump had called on Salman.

It made no mention of Iran but said the views of the two leaders "were identical" on issues discussed during the call, including "confronting those who seek to undermine security and stability in the region and interfere in the internal affairs of other states."

Riyadh regularly accuses Tehran of regional interference, a charge strongly denied by Iran. This is while Saudis have for months conducted indiscriminate attacks on Yemen, which have killed hundreds of civilians, and failed to reinstate the fugitive president Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi so far.

SPA said Trump and Salman also agreed on "formulating the appropriate mechanisms" for countering "terrorism" and extremism.

The all-out support by Saudi Arabia to promote Wahhabism and takfiri ideology across the world has been blamed by experts for nurturing extremist and terrorist outfits like the self-styled Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front militant groups.  

Trump opposed the nuclear agreement signed by Iran and world powers, including the United States, in 2015 and has said he wants to undo or rework it.

Some of his key nominees have adopted an openly anti-Iran stance, including secretary of state candidate Rex Tillerson, who is seeking a complete revision of the accord.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that there were many ways of "undoing" the Iran nuclear deal and that he would discuss that with Trump.

But before he left office, former president Barack Obama warned against scrapping the pact, emphasizing its "significant and concrete results."

The deal places curbs on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Riyadh is at odds with Tehran over a wide range of regional issues, including the Yemen war, the Syrian crisis and Iran's backing for allies in the anti-terror campaign.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have a decades-old relationship based on the exchange of American security for Saudi oil.

But ties between Riyadh and Washington became increasingly frayed during the eight-year administration of Barack Obama.

Saudi leaders felt Obama was reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria and support militants backed by Riyadh.

Riyadh's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said he expects the Trump administration to be more engaged in the Middle East and the world in general.


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