Pictured above is U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on September 4, 2015.
Saudi Arabia is satisfied with assurances from U.S. President Barack Obama about the Iran nuclear deal and believes the agreement will contribute to security and stability in the Middle East, a senior Saudi official said on Friday.
Saudi King Salman met with Obama at the White House on Friday to seek more support in countering Iran, as the Obama administration aimed to use the visit to shore up relations after a period of tensions.The visit is the king's first to the United States since ascending to the throne in January 2015, and comes after the United States agreed to a nuclear deal with Iran in July.
The U.S.-Saudi relationship has suffered strain because of what Riyadh sees as Obama's withdrawal from the region, a lack of direct U.S. action against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and a perceived U.S. tilt towards Iran since the 2011 Arab uprisings.But the countries share many strategic objectives and depend on each other on a number of core security, economic, and political issues.
Speaking after the meeting between Obama and Salman, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Obama had assured the Saudi king that the agreement prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, includes inspections of military and suspected sites, and has a provision for the snapback of sanctions if Iran violates the agreement.
Under those conditions, al-Jubeir said, Saudi Arabia supported the deal.
"Now we have one less problem for the time being to deal with, with regards to Iran," al-Jubeir said. "We can now focus more intensely on the nefarious activities that Iran is engaged in the region."Gulf Arab states had previously expressed their support for the Iran nuclear deal, but fear that the lifting of sanctions on Iran would enable it to pursue destabilizing policies in the Middle East.
Salman skipped a Gulf Arab summit at Camp David in May, a move widely seen as a diplomatic snub over Obama's Iran strategy, though both governments denied that interpretation.Critics say the nuclear deal will empower Iran economically to increase its support of militant groups in the region.
Obama and Salman discussed the potential fast-tracking of the release of American military technology and weapons systems to Saudi Arabia, al-Jubeir said, and discussed a "new strategic partnership" between the two countries, although he gave few details.
The Gulf state is in advanced discussions with the U.S. government about buying two frigates based on a coastal warship that Lockheed Martin Corp is building for the U.S. Navy, a deal valued at well over $1 billion.The sale would be the cornerstone of a long-delayed multibillion-dollar modernization of the Royal Saudi Navy's Gulf-patrolling eastern fleet of aging U.S. warships and would include smaller patrol boats.