Saudi Arabia and UAE have expressed assent to the revival of Iran nuclear dead in a drastic policy shift towards the arch-rival.
Saudi Arabia and UAE rulers have consented to a potential re-implementation of nuclear deal with Iran. The two countries, the former in specific, have long obstructed in the negotiations and had active role in Trump’s 2018 decision to withdraw from the deal.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are talking with Tehran to resolve the bilateral conflicts while advocating for further discussions to address their security concerns.
World powers have been involved in Negotiations with Tehran for the past months since the new US administration took the office. Iran conditioned the revival of the deal to US’ first step-back to the deal and lifting the sanctions.
The new government in the United States, under Joe Biden, means to revive the JCPOA. His predecessor, Donald Trump, scrapped the deal calling it a bad one and replaced it with “maximum pressure” policy in form of all-out sanctions.
Besides, Persian Gulf allies of the US has long been criticizing the deal as insufficient since it ignores other concerns such as Iran’s missile program and its regional activity in form of supporting regional proxy militia.
A few days ago, US Secretary Antony Blinken straightly reiterated Washington’s repeatedly announces objective on getting the deal “back in the box” so as to use it as a solution structure for other issues.
Arab states, nevertheless, warn that with Saudi Arabia under pressure in a deadly war in Yemen and facing strikes on its infrastructure by the Houthi movement, that it blames on Iran and its supporters, ignoring the the larger concerns would be harmful in the long run.
Abdulaziz Sager, a former activist in the unofficial negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh and researcher at Gulf Research Center, referring to the recent developments regarding JCPOA, says “the Gulf countries have said ‘fine the U.S. can go back to the nuclear deal, this is their decision we cannot change it, but…we need everybody to take into account regional security concerns’.”
Persian Gulf leaders are concerned that they don’t have the same authority in regional matter with Biden’s government as they once had with his predecessor’s. They made attempts to have an active involvement in Vienna discussions, but failed to secure one.
Instead of sitting on hands and expecting the conclusion of the Vienna negotiations, Riyadh welcomed Iraqi offers to hold discussions between Saudi and Iranian officials a few months ago. Reports indicate that the behind-the-door negotiations are still underway.
Iran wields a number of leverages, including equipment of the Houthi militia in Yemen. The Saudis’ failure to get to a result in Yemen after six years of assaults, destruction, and massacre, worn out the US.
“Yemen is a cheap course for Iran and a very expensive one for Saudi Arabia. This gives Iran a strong bargaining position.”
According to unofficial reports, the UAE’s attempts to contain Iranian threat to its assets, particularly since assaults against its tankers back in 2019, started even earlier in form of confidential and unofficial negotiations.
Economic considerations have sharply affected the security concerns.Saudi Arabia and UAE put priority on their economy while they hope to find resolutions for security concerns through negotiations.
Riyadh expect that US keeps bargaining power over Iran by holding some sanctions. Iran clarified its strategy on the issue saying that the US must lift all sanctions concerned with the nuclear program to provide the pre-condition for further proceedings.
The utilization of the pact “as a platform both to look at whether the agreement itself can be lengthened and if necessary strengthened and also to capture” regional consideration is what Blinken has put on top of his agenda.
Saudi Arabia and UAE have made for the trap in which they were stuck during the past years. Yemen intervention has turned to the Achilles hill of the Persian Gulf Arab states for which they are paying a high price.