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Saudi Arabia on Iran: Public hope, private angst

26/11/2013

Saudi Arabia has remained remarkably composed in the wake of an interim pact between Iran and six world powers that Riyadh had lobbied against, in marked contrast to Israel, which rushed to sound the alarm bells before the ink had dried Sunday.

Both countries are seen as the biggest losers of the deal, which allows continued Iranian enrichment while rolling back some sanctions.

In a short statement on Monday, Saudi Arabia broke its silence, saying the interim agreement between Iran and the superpowers “could be a step towards a comprehensive agreement for Iran’s controversial nuclear program depending on goodwill.”

Has Iran been displaying the level of goodwill Saudi Arabia requires? Not quite yet.

The Saudis, as leaders of the alliance of Gulf states (and perhaps the entire Arab world), have expressed grave concern in recent months — both publicly and privately — over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. On Monday, the ultra-conservative kingdom was trying to grapple with the agreement’s implications for its security and economy.

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