Iran nuclear deal would need Arab cooperation: Saudi Arabia

AFP , Tuesday 31 Mar 2015

Saud al-Faisal
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. (File photo: Reuters)

Iran will not be able to reap the benefits of any nuclear deal with world powers without the cooperation of its Gulf neighbours, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Prince Saud al-Faisal's comments came on deadline day to reach a framework agreement aimed at stopping Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, in exchange for easing crippling sanctions.

Iran insists its nuclear efforts are for purely peaceful purposes.

"If the P5+1 wanted to give Iran a role in the region they should have first looked to favour an entente between Iran and the Arab states," Saud told the Shura Council, an appointed consultative body.

He was referring to Britain, France, China, Russia, the United States and Germany, which face a 2200 GMT deadline in negotiations with Iran to end a 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Saud asked the six major nations to not "short-circuit the interests of the states of the region by dangling before Iran benefits that it will not be able to reap without cooperation with the countries of the region."

Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia has long vied for regional influence with Shiite-dominated Iran.

The kingdom's concern over the outcome of nuclear talks with Iran comes as Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition which last Thursday began bombing Shiite Huthi militia in neighbouring Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, which accuses Iran of supporting the Huthis, feared the rebels could take over all of Yemen, taking it into Iran's orbit.

Iran warned Tuesday that the Saudi "attack" on Yemen endangers the whole region.

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